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Russia could miss 2018 Winter Games: IPC chief

The International Paralympic Committee president said he cannot guarantee Russia will be allowed to compete in South Korea © AFP/File / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC

LONDON, United Kingdom, Jan 24 – Russian athletes could remain banned for next year’s Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, the president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has revealed.

After a World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) report unearthed evidence of state-sponsored doping in Russian sport, the IPC banned the country from competing at last year’s Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Russia has since made efforts to get its house in order, but IPC president Philip Craven said he cannot guarantee the country will be allowed to compete in South Korea.

“I don’t know and I don’t think many people do,” he told the BBC, in comments published on Tuesday, when asked if Russian competitors would be allowed to return.

“I’m not looking for someone to say sorry, but let’s get it fixed.”

Whereas the International Olympic Committee allowed individual sports federations to decide whether or not to suspend Russian athletes from the Rio Games, the IPC opted for a blanket ban.

Russian athletes will be absent from this week’s IPC Para Alpine World Championships in Tarvisio, Italy, where Craven was speaking, but he hopes they will return to the fold before long.

“Russia is a great sporting nation and without them being here, they are missed in a sporting sense,” he said.

“But we can’t have nations competing when their performances have been tarnished by what’s gone on before.”