On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended Russian athletes from competing in the upcoming 2018 Winter Games in South Korea under the national flag.
Athletes considered to be “clean” will be able to request to compete in neutral uniforms under the Olympic flag.
“Russia’s absence will definitely be felt. Russia has traditionally been a very strong power in sports, and particularly when it comes to the Winter Olympics, and I think the Sochi Olympics were extraordinary.
“And the way they were organised, and I have been to Sochi and I have seen the infrastructure, I’ve seen the manner in which the games were held.
“So, clearly, Russia will definitely be missed,” Saran said.
The diplomat further underlined that all athletes should be given a chance to participate in the Games.
“I feel that the Olympic spirit has to be upheld, Olympics is a very precious event which needs to have extraordinary high levels of competition, but also credibility, so we just hope that all countries can participate on equal terms.
“And that all sportsmen at the end of the day, should have the opportunity to participate in the Olympics, I think it’s fair,” Saran noted.
At the same time, the IOC Disciplinary Commission, headed by Samuel Schmid, said that it had not found any documented and independent evidence that “the highest state authority” was aware of the doping-related scheme.