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Bach and Zhukov express hope decision on Russia will come ahead of winter sport season

It is still uncertain whether Russian athletes will be allowed to compete at the Pyeonchang 2018 Winter Olympics. (Photo: Getty Images)
by Sonja Nikcevic, AIPS Media

LIMA, September 12, 2017 – IOC President Thomas Bach has expressed his hope that the Oswald and Schmid Commissions in charge of Russia’s doping implications at Sochi 2014 will come up with results as soon as possible.

Speaking to the press ahead of the 131st IOC Session in Lima, Peru, Bach was met with a host of questions on the credibility of the IOC, but for once Russian doping was not top of the agenda.

The question remains however, just as it did ahead of Rio 2016, whether Russian athletes will be allowed to compete at the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang next February.

“I hope that the Oswald commission can produce some results before the winter World Cup season starts," Bach told media.

Swiss IOC member Denis Oswald is chair of the Commission tasked with re-verifying evidence that a number of Russian athletes competing at Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games were doped. Essentially, how anti-doping samples were manipulated in the build-up to and during the Winter Games.

The IOC president confirmed however that the final decision on Russia’s participation in PyeongChang 2018 will depend on the findings of the Schmid Commission rather than that of Oswald’s or the word of Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren who’s initial report had confirmed a large scale doping scandal in Russia.

The Schmid Commission, chaired by Swiss politician and member of the Ethics Commission Samuel Schmid is tasked with the arguably more delicate task of producing concrete findings regarding claims of Russia having operated a state-sponsored doping system with involvement of the Ministry of Sport and other governmental agencies between 2011 and 2015, with a focus on the ‘home Games’ of Sochi 2014.

“I don’t know if Russia will take part in the Games, this depends on the findings and the report of the Schmid Commission,” Bach said. A series of delays means that the findings of the Commission, expected for October will likely be expected even later.

President of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov has said, like Bach, that he would like the decision to come as soon as possible.

“The wait isn’t good, but we are confident that the Winter Olympic Games would not be the same without Russia and Russian athletes competing,” Zhukov said.

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