Around 200 Russians to compete in Pyeongchang

Pic Reuters

IOC rules don't allow the neutral uniforms to contain national symbols, so there's a badge on the chest reading "Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation".

Over 14,000 doping tests have been conducted ahead of next month's Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in an effort to protect clean athletes and safeguard the Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Thursday.

Russian Federation originally topped the medals table in Sochi before losing 13 of 33 medals after an independent report, commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, revealed evidence of widespread doping over several years.

The International Olympic Committee has approved almost 400 Russian athletes to participate in the upcoming Winter Games in South Korea despite an official ban on Russia's Olympic team.

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None of the 42 Russian athletes handed lifetime Olympic bans for doping at Sochi remain on the list, with 39 of them set for an appeals hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport next week in Geneva.

The IOC last month banned Russian Federation from the Pyeongchang Games as a result of its "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system, though individual athletes will be able to compete effectively as neutrals if they can prove their anti-doping credentials. Under the restrictions imposed by the ban, approved Russian athletes can compete under the Olympic flag and will be referred to by the acronym OAR: Olympic Athlete from Russia.

"It was not easy to put this list together, but we wanted to be absolutely sure that only clean athletes from Russian Federation can be invited to participate in the Olympic Winter Games".

"We understand that there are athletes on this list who do not meet the new criteria", Mutko told state news agency TASS. Olympic officials did not project how many Russians would end up competing in PyeongChang, but the large pool of potential candidates means the size of the Russian contingent could match that of the Sochi Games, where Russia fielded about 230 athletes.

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