Olympics-Russian Olympic Committee to send 335 athletes to Tokyo

FILE PHOTO: President of the Olympic Committee of Russia Stanislav Pozdnyakov attends a meeting of the Sports Ministry Board in Moscow, Russia March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Olympic Committee will send 335 athletes to the Tokyo Olympics next month, its president said on Tuesday, where they will compete without their national flag and anthem due to doping sanctions.

Russian athletes are barred from competing at major international events, including the Olympics, with their flag and anthem until 2022. The country will compete in Tokyo under the name "ROC", an acronym for the Russian Olympic Committee.

"The Russian Olympic Committee has just approved the team for the Tokyo Olympics," president Stanislav Pozdnyakov told reporters. "There are 335 athletes on the list."

Volleyball player Maksim Mikhaylov and sabre fencer Sofya Velikaya are ROC's designated flag bearers, he said. They will use the Russian Olympic Committee's flag.

The ban is aimed at punishing Moscow for providing global anti-doping authorities with doctored laboratory data that could have helped identify drug cheats.

Instead of having their anthem played on the podium, Russian gold medal winners in Tokyo this year and at the 2022 Beijing Games will hear music by composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

Many Russian athletes were sidelined from the past two Olympics, and the country's flag was banned at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Games.

Russia has in the past acknowledged some shortcomings in its implementation of anti-doping policies, but it denies running a state-sponsored doping programme.

(Reporting by Gennady Novik; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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