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Putin orders alternative Olympic Games for banned athletes

Putin orders alternative Olympic Games for banned athletes

Russian Federation was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from participating in the February 9-25 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, amid far-reaching allegations of doping among the country's top athletes, including at the 2014 Winter Games, which Russian Federation hosted in Sochi.

"You should focus on the result and on your victory", he added. "We will do everything to support them", Putin said at a meeting with the athletes.

As punishment for what it deemed a doping scheme during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the International Olympic Committee has invited 169 Russians to compete under a neutral flag using the name "Olympic Athletes from Russia". Putin also repeated a claim he made last month that Rodchenkov, who is under witness protection in the United States and says he fears for his life, is "under the control of the USA special services". They can not wave the Russian flag at the event and, if they win, the Russian anthem will not be played.

Games will be held in Pyeongchang from 9 to 25 February.

Speaking to the athletes, Putin reiterated his complaint that the ban against Russian Federation was politically motivated.

The IOC has been criticized by some Russian sports officials in recent weeks after ruling some top medal hopes didn't pass its vetting process.

Hockey players Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk gave Putin a Russian jersey bearing his name and players' signatures along with the slogan "Russia in my heart".

Luger Roman Repilov for his part said the Russian athletes should emerge winners at Pyeongchang to show the world that "Russia is the greatest sporting nation".

"Forgive us for not being able to protect you from that", Putin told the Russian athletes.

Snowborder Alena Zavarzina said the exclusion of other Russians was utterly unfair.

The Russian leader promised to help those athletes who were barred from participating in the upcoming Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

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