Putin: Russians not prevented from competing at Winter Olympics under neutral flag

 Putin: Russians not prevented from competing at Winter Olympics under neutral flag

Moscow would not prevent its athletes from competing at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics if they wanted to, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

“Without any doubt, we will not declare a blockade, we will not prevent our Olympians from taking part (in the Games), if one of them wants to participate in a personal capacity,” Putin said on state television.

The Kremlin leader said a final decision on Russia’s stance regarding the IOC ban would be made at a meeting of Russian Olympic authorities in the coming days, Reuters reported.

The IOC on Tuesday banned the Russian team from the Olympics after evidence emerged of an “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of the anti-doping system but left the door open for some Russians to compete as neutrals if they demonstrate they have a doping-free background.

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