SPORT

Putin: Russian athletes may compete individually

PUTIN: RUSSIAN ATHLETES MAY COMPETE INDIVIDUALLY

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday his country's athletes will compete in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea's PyeongChang as individuals.

Putin refuted accusations of a Russian state-sponsored doping system and said a ban on the country's athletes was unfair.

"It's up to our athletes to participate in the Olympics as individuals," Putin said and described the International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s ruling as a collective punishment.

"Punishments must be served on those who are guilty," Putin said.

On Tuesday night, the IOC blocked athletes from competing under the Russian flag, although those with a clean record of drug testing will be able to compete as neutrals.

It also excluded Russia's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko and his deputy Yuri Nagornykh from participating in future Olympics and suspended Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov as an IOC member.

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