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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 18.10.2018, 21:53

Latvian Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation head believes Russia will boycott Winter Olympics

BC, Riga, 07.12.2017.Print version

The president of the Latvian Skeleton and Bobsleigh Federation Janis Kols believes Russia will most likely boycott the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea, commenting the International Olympic Committee's decision to ban Russia from the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea.

''The decision was the right one, as it punishes those who are guilty, but allows those who are innocent to compete at the Games,'' Kols told LETA. ''Knowing Russia's ambitions and taking into account that Russian athletes will only be able to compete as neutral athletes, I believe we will be hearing a response in the coming days from Russia. I believe there is a good chance that Russia will boycott the Games.''

Kols also said that he was disappointed at the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation's decision to initially disqualify the guilty Russian athletes from competitions, but afterwards change its mind and allow them to compete.

''The president of the international federation told us all they will take a tough stance on those caught cheating, but after meeting with some Russian lawyers at some airport concludes that there is not enough evidence and allows them to compete. This was a disappointing surprise to say the least,'' he said.

The AFP news agency reports that Russia was banned Tuesday from the 2018 Winter Games by the International Olympic Committee over its state-orchestrated doping programme, but clean Russian athletes will be allowed to compete under an Olympic flag.

The sanction was the toughest ever leveled by the IOC for drug cheating and was delivered just 65 days ahead of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

In announcing the decision, IOC president Thomas Bach accused Russia of "perpetrating an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport".

An explosive report by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) and two subsequent IOC investigations have confirmed that Russian athletes took part in an elaborate drug cheating programme which peaked during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Mounting evidence has indicated that the scheme involved senior government officials, including from the sports ministry, with help from secret state agents.

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