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15 Apr, 2021 16:49

‘Is the Russian flag banned?’ Western media fume as Russia unveils stylish neutral Olympic uniform for Tokyo Games

‘Is the Russian flag banned?’ Western media fume as Russia unveils stylish neutral Olympic uniform for Tokyo Games

After the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) unveiled the team’s uniform this week, some of the Western media exploded with angry messages claiming that the country’s tricolor could clearly be seen on the kit presented by Zasport.

Russian athletes at the Tokyo Games this summer will be barred from competing under the national flag and with the national anthem, as the result of sanctions imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

READ MORE: New Russian team name and flag agreed for athletes at Tokyo and Beijing Olympic Games

Three months ago, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld a series of sanctions introduced by WADA over alleged manipulation of data at a Moscow anti-doping laboratory.

The CAS ruled that Russian athletes competing at major international events – including the World Championships and Olympics – will be prohibited from using national symbols until December 2022.

Russian athletes appearing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing will perform under the name ‘ROC’, the acronym which represents the Russian Olympic Committee.

On Wednesday, Zasport, the official supplier of the Russian Olympic team, unveiled new uniforms featuring bore the logo of the ROC instead of the country's flag.

The uniform presented by models and athletes in a glitzy runway show in Moscow appeared to infuriate some international sports pundits, who ranted over the fact that the kit included the ROC’s logo of three flames in the colors of the national flag.

Criticism was also voiced over the sportswear’s color combination, as it contained white, blue and red fragments, something that was interpreted by skeptics as a “giant Russian flag

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that the uniform fully met the requirements stipulated by the body in connection with WADA’s sanctions.

The ROC uniform designs for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are in line with the established and published implementation guidelines,” the IOC said. “The uniforms have been approved on this basis.