MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) will send once again to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) a list of national athletes, selected to participate in the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, ROC Vice President Stanislav Pozdnyakov said on Tuesday.
"Today we have worked with sports federations on the lists of athletes selected to participate in the Olympic Games," Pozdnyakov said. "I would like to reassure that these lists, which we are sending to the International Olympic Committee, are preliminary and they include the strongest athletes. Afterwards, the entry application will be forwarded to the IOC and we will be waiting for the decision."
"We are filling in our quotas to the full and expect that they would be claimed by our strongest athletes," Pozdnyakov said. "The IOC’s decision (against extending Olympic invitations to a number of strong Russian athletes) is preliminary. We completely disagree with this decision."
Pozdnyakov announced on Tuesday that the national committee received a list from the IOC of the invited national athletes to the 2018 Winter Games and the list did not contain many athletes, including the team’s leaders such as 2014 Olympic Champion in biathlon Anton Shipulin, two-time World Champion in cross-country skiing Sergey Ustyugov and six-time Olympic Champion in short track Viktor Ahn.
The ROC earlier provided the IOC with the list of Russian athletes, who intended to go to the Winter Games. After that the IOC Invitation Review Panel, chaired by ex-sports minister of France and the Chairperson of the ITA (International Testing Agency), Valerie Fourneyron, picked up from the list the names of athletes, whom the IOC would invite to the 2018 Olympic Games.
On December 5, the IOC Executive Board announced its decision to suspend the whole Russian national team from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang over multiple doping abuse allegations.
The IOC, however, stated that doping-free athletes from Russia might go to the 2018 Olympic Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or the OAR status, which stands for ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia.’ The IOC reserved the right to the final word in regard to Russian athletes, who will go to PyeongChang under the neutral status.
The upcoming Olympics, which are the 23rd Winter Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018.