The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has banned Russia’s team from the PyeongChang Winter Games, but will allow individual athletes to compete under a neutral flag.
The IPC said in a statement Monday that “it is maintaining the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC),” because of its doping past.
However, “in recognition of the progress made by the RPC in improving its anti-doping activities,” the IPC is allowing individual Russian athletes who meet certain conditions to compete in five sports as neutral athletes at the games, which run from March 8-18.
The team of “Neutral Paralympic Athletes (NPA)” will have half the number of Russian athletes that competed in Sochi in 2014.
PyeongChang will be the second Paralympics without a Russian team. The country was first excluded from the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics in 2016 over allegations of a state-sponsored doping.
The IPC’s decision reflects that of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that barred the Russian team from participating in the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang which run from February 8-25, but allowed 169 Russians to compete individually.
For Russia to be reinstated, officials must either accept or disprove World Anti-Doping Agency investigations which found the state ran a doping program.
The Russian government has repeatedly denied ever supporting any doping programs.