By Greg Potts
The president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Sir Philip Craven, has said he is not sure whether the Russian team will be able to compete at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang.
Athletes from Russia were banned from the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio after an investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency found state-sponsored doping of over 1,000 athletes over four years.
Speaking to the BBC about Russia’s participation in the games in South Korea next year, Craven said: “I don’t know and I don’t think many people do.
“I’m not looking for someone to say sorry, but let’s get it fixed.”
Russian athletes are also currently banned from all international Paralympic sports competitions that are governed by the IPC. This includes ice sledge hockey, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, biathlon and snowboarding.
The only Paralympic sport not governed by the IPC is wheelchair curling, where Russian athletes are allowed to compete.
The IPC has set up an independent task-force which has met with the Russian Paralympic Committee to discuss what would need to be done for Russian athletes to return to competition.
The Russian Committee must agree to a number of conditions from the IPC, including creating a ‘strong anti-doping culture’ and sacking anyone who is found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation.
Craven said to BBC Sport that he hoped they would return soon: “Russia is a great sporting nation and without them being here they are missed in a sporting sense.
“But we can’t have nations competing when their performances have been tarnished by what’s gone on before.”