Sunday 20 January 2019

Russia's 'alternative' games

Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Photo: AP
Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Photo: AP

Ben Bloom

Russian officials confirmed yesterday they would go ahead with plans to host an 'alternative Winter Olympics' next month after their bid to add 45 athletes to their Pyeongchang 2018 team ended in failure just hours before yesterday's opening ceremony.

A number of Russian athletes had been camped in a hotel close to the Olympic Village this week while waiting for the Court of Arbitration for Sport to rule on whether to overturn bans that were imposed by the International Olympic Committee.

The 45-strong group had all been barred from competing due to their alleged links to doping, but appealed the ruling in an attempt to join the 168 Russians who have already been cleared to take part in the Pyeongchang Games as part of a team called 'Olympic Athletes from Russia'.

With the appeal unsuccessful, Vitaly Mutko, Russia's deputy prime minister, confirmed plans to organise an alternative sports tournament for those athletes unable to compete at the Winter Olympics.

Mr Mutko said invitations will be extended to foreign athletes and a prize money fund will be established from unspecified sources.

"The Russian Sports Ministry will finalise the schedule and will announce the dates jointly with the [sports] federations," he said.

Irish Independent

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