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The Chinese national flag flies behind the logo of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China January 14, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

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MOSCOW, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Russian athletes competing in the Beijing Winter Olympics next month are expected to win around 30 medals, the head of the Russian Olympic Committee said on Monday.

“We have a method to determine how many medals we could win. Unfortunately, there is a large margin of error due to COVID-19…” RIA news agency quoted Stanislav Pozdnyakov as saying. , President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). .

“We are ready to fight for 30 medals. We have a very good national team. We are ready to fight for a place in the top three (on the medal table).”

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Figure skater Kamila Valieva, cross-country skier Alexander Bolshunov and speed skater Natalia Voronina are among the Russian favorites to step onto the podium in their respective disciplines in Beijing.

Russian athletes are banned from competing at major international events under their flag and with their anthem until December 2022.

The sanctions, initially imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) but later halved to two years on appeal, are aimed at punishing Moscow for providing falsified lab data to international anti-doping authorities that could have helped identify the cheaters of drug.

At the Beijing Games, which will take place from February 4 to 20, Russians will compete as representatives of the Russian Olympic Committee under the acronym “ROC”, as they did at the Tokyo Summer Olympics last year. last.

Russia was also stripped of its flag at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games in South Korea as punishment for state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Games. Rio 2016.

Russia has acknowledged some flaws in its implementation of anti-doping rules, but denies having a state-sponsored doping program in place.

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Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Ken Ferris

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.