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Canada, Sweden, Czech Republic Join Russians In Olympic Hockey Quarterfinals


Russian ice hockey players are participating under the Olympic Athletes from Russia designation after the International Olympic Committee banned Russia from competing as a team at the Winter Olympics. (file photo)

Canada, Sweden, and the Czech Republic have joined the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) in advancing to the quarterfinals of the men's ice hockey tournament in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Canada, the two-time defending champion, defeated host South Korea 4-0 on February 18, while Sweden beat Finland 3-1, and the Czechs topped Switzerland 4-1 to reach the round of the final eight teams at the Winter Olympics.

Eight other teams, including the United States, will now compete in a knockout playoff round to determine the final four teams to join the quarterfinals.

The Olympic Athletes from Russia will next play on February 21 against the winner of the Norway-Slovenia knockout match, providing the Russians with a three-day break before their next outing.

"It's very important, because whoever you play against, you are wasting strength and energy," Russian star Ilya Kovalchuk said. "It's good we'll get another day off."

Russian athletes are participating under the Olympic Athletes from Russia designation, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned Russia from competing as a team at the Winter Olympics.

The IOC cited what it said investigations showed was a longstanding state-sponsored doping program and "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the Olympic anti-doping system at the Winter Olympics that Russia hosted in Sochi in 2014.

The IOC subsequently invited 169 carefully screened Russian athletes to compete as independents in Pyeongchang.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters
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