By Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber

 

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) will support Russian athletes who choose to compete in next year's Winter Games in South Korea, ROC President Alexander Zhukov said on Tuesday.

 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) last week banned Russia from the Games, due to take place in Pyeongchang in February, for what it called "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system. It left the door open for clean athletes to compete as neutrals.

 

An ROC official said on Monday most Russian athletes still wanted to attend, even as neutrals. Zhukov said the ROC would do its best to help Russian athletes competing at the Games and would be holding serious talks with the IOC in the near future to discuss the arrangement.

 

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber; Writing by Jack Stubbs; Editing by Peter Graff)