Olympics-Russia brief monitor star Ahn barred from 2018…

Sergey Ustyugov

Russia's biathlete Anton Shipulin, short-track speed-skater Victor An and cross-country skier Sergey Ustyugov are now not included in the list of potential participants of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) First Vice President Stanislav Pozdnyakov said Tuesday.

ROC senior vice president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said in a statement that he discovered the absences during negotiations with IOC officials on Monday and has asked the Olympic body to explain why they were not included.

In December, the IOC banned Russian Federation from the February 9-25 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, citing its "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the Olympic anti-doping system. "Nevertheless their names are absent from the list of potential Olympic participants".

Other officials said that two-time figure skating medalist Ksenia Stolbova and several other speedskaters were excluded.

"On Tuesday, we will send the International Olympic Committee a request for the specific reasons why the captains of Russian teams in various sports have not been included in the list of potential participants".

"Athletes, such as Victor An, Anton Shipulin or Sergey Ustyugov, were not involved in the proceedings within the framework of the Oswald commission, they were also never involved in any doping scandals, and all the numerous tests they took during their career prove that they are "clean" athletes".

"To protect the rights of the persons involved, the International Olympic Committee can not comment on any individual cases but will communicate the invitation list in due course", it said in a response to AFP.

Born Ahn Hyun-soo in Seoul, the skater won three gold medals and a bronze at the 2006 Turin Games for South Korea but was passed over for Vancouver four years later due to a knee injury and after falling out with Korea's skating union.

The IOC said that it will publish a final list of Russian athletes to go to Pyeongchang before 27 January.

The week-long hearing includes appeals from 39 Russians who competed at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi that were tarnished by a vast, Moscow-backed doping scheme that included tampering with urine samples, according to multiple independent investigations. If this decision has indeed been made, we regret to hear it. "We hope those contacts will help clarify the situation around the aforementioned prominent athletes".

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