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Pool Of 'Clean' Russian Athletes Announced For Pyeongchang

The mascot of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics is seen at the arrival gate of Terminal 2 at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on January 19 that nearly 400 Russian athletes have been deemed eligible to potentially compete under a neutral flag in next month's Winter Olympics in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang.

The IOC banned Russia last month from the Pyeongchang games, citing its "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system. But it said that some Russians would be allowed to compete as neutral athletes provided they meet certain guidelines on doping.

The IOC said in a January 19 statement that it had reduced the pool of "clean" Russian athletes eligible for possible participation in the Pyeongchang games from 500 to 389.

"For others in the remaining pool of athletes, preconditions such as further pre-games tests and reanalysis from stored samples have been required," the IOC said. "Only if these requirements are met can the athletes be considered for invitation."

A 2016 report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found widespread evidence of state-sponsored doping in Russia across numerous sporting disciplines, including with byzantine efforts to manipulate urine samples.

With the exception of one athlete, Russia was barred from track-and-field events and weightlifting at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but it was allowed to field teams in other sports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials continue to deny state involvement, despite the evidence.

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics are set to be held February 9-25.

With reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and dpa
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