BONN, Germany – The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has registered 33 athletes from Russia to compete as Neutral Paralympic Athletes (NPA) at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Games following a meeting at IPC headquarters in Bonn on Thursday.
The Russian state news agency, TASS reports that the NPA delegation will consist of 81 people, 33 of them athletes. There are also three more athletes waiting to see if they will be admitted to the team with the IPC expected to make a decision on those three athletes by the end of next week.
The meeting took place between the IPC and Russian Paralympic officials, with the Russian Paralympic Committee Vice-President, Pavel Rozhkov the main official in attendance. The main hurdle will be delegation members getting their accreditation, with so little time to process it, that puts the delegation in the odd situation of receiving their credentials upon arriving at the Paralympic village.
With such a short time, the final approval of the delegation registration will be on March 1st allowing for the NPA delegation to move in on March 3rd. That will be just five days before the Games start on March 8th, a tight prep time for the NPA team.
The registration of the 33 athletes is a big step forward for Russia, which was absent from the Rio 2016 Games due to the state sponsored doping. While 33 is not what the full Russian team could be it symbolizes that progress has been made and should progress continue Russia may make its actual return in Tokyo in 2020.