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Putin says Russian athletes will be allowed to compete at 2018 PyeongChang Games Updated: 2017-12-07 12:04:07 KST


Russian President Putin said on Wednesday, that Moscow will allow Russians to participate in the PyeongChang Winter Games as *neutral athletes competing under the Olympic flag.
There had been calls within Russia to declare a boycott, after the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday banned the Russian team from competing over doping allegations.
The IOC said its decision was based on evidence of a state-sponsored and systematic manipulation of anti-doping procedures by Moscow during the 2014 Sochi Games.
However, it said *individual Russian athletes could be allowed to compete if they can prove and demonstrate a clean, doping-free background.
Russia has categorically denied all allegations of state support in doping with Putin saying it was based on unreliable testimonies that were large unfounded.
He also suggested the move was political, and that Moscow was partly to blame for providing the IOC with a convenient pretext to ban its Olympic team.
Russian short-track speed skater Viktor Ahn said on Wednesday, he would be competing as a neutral in the PyeongChang Games in what could be his final appearance at the Olympics.
The South Korean-born skating legend, is an eight-time gold medalist who obtained Russian citizenship in 2011, after a public falling out with South Korea's skating union.
Ahn, along with other Russian athletes have many suspicions to overcome, with the World Anti-Doping Agency ruling last month, that Russia had failed to meet international drug-testing standard for the third year in a row.
Yu Joonhee, Arirang News.
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