[Moscow : A museum worker passes sculptures of Russian president Vladimir Putin of Russian president Vladimir Putin, part of the “SUPERPUTIN” exhibition at the UMAM museum in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The 65-year old Russian leader, who has ruled the country since 2000, announced on Wednesday that he would seek his fourth term in office in March. Putin’s 80-percent approval ratings make his victory all but certain. /PTI]
Seoul, Dec 7 : South Korea ON Thursday urged Russian athletes to compete in the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics under a neutral flag, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) vetoed the country’s participation over doping charges.
Seoul expects many Russian athletes to participate, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said in a statement Thursday, adding that the participation of Russian athletes would contribute significantly to the success of PyeongChang 2018, reports Efe.
The IOC had decided Tuesday to veto the Russian Olympic Committee for state-sponsored doping, although it left the door open for its athletes to participate under a neutral flag.
President Vladimir Putin had said on Wednesday Russia will not boycott the games — that begins February 9 in PyeongChang — over the IOC decision.
Possible absence of athletes from Russia, a major country in winter sports, along with security fears over North Korea’s continuous weapons tests, could further affect sale of tickets, only 52 per cent of which were sold until November 26.