Reported doping case may affect Russian athletes’ flag future

PyeongChang, Feb 19 (IANS) A reported doping case involving a Russian athlete could affect whether or not his team will march behind the Russian flag at the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Russian media reported that traces of the banned substance meldonium were found in the A-sample of Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky, who won a bronze medal in the mixed doubles event. The result of the B-sample test is set to come out later, reported Yonhap news agency.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) Implementation Group is scheduled to decide Saturday whether or not to lift the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) over doping. If lifted, OAR athletes could display the Russian flag during their march in the closing ceremony Sunday. The delegation marched under the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony.

“Should this case be proven or should this case come to fruition, that will also be part of consideration as to whether they will be allowed to march in the closing ceremony under the (Russian) flag,” IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said at a press conference at the Main Press Centre here.

The flag and other matters involving the delegation from Russia will be discussed by the IOC executive board on Saturday, he added.

Adams also highlighted that the OAR Implementation Group is closely monitoring the OAR team throughout the Games.

“(The Implementation Group) will look throughout the whole games the actions and comportment of the team and the officials amongst other things,” the spokesperson said.



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