Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin insists he is "not backing down" from setting his country’s Tokyo 2020 hopefuls the "ambitious" goal of finishing in the top three of the medals table - despite the prospect of having to field a neutral team.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued Russia with a four-year package of sanctions including a ban on its flag at the Olympic Games after the country was found to have manipulated data at the Moscow Laboratory.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) is appealing the punishments handed down by WADA, which will not come into effect until the CAS has rendered its final decision.
Russia finished fourth in the medals table at Rio 2016, where they fielded only competitor in athletics after the Russian Athletics Federation was suspended following allegations of state-sponsored doping.
Two years later, 168 Russian athletes were forced to compete as Olympic Athletes from Russia at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang in South Korea after the Russian Olympic Committee was banned due to the doping scandal.
Russian competitors now face competing under a neutral flag again but Matytsin has high hopes for the country’s athletes at next year’s Olympics, pushed back to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"The task is always ambitious, but you need to understand that the current conditions, the pandemic and sanctions, especially in athletics, can correct these plans,” Matytsin said in an interview with the Match TV channel.
"We are not backing down from the task of getting into the top three.
"We did not get the right to play in football, baseball, field hockey.
"In other sports, I hope we will be represented."
Matytsin is also hopeful Russia will win the maximum number of quota places at Tokyo 2020.
"Our main task is to ensure the training process at our federal bases, to ensure the implementation of a unified schedule as much as possible," added Matytsin.
"The situation is more complicated with the international calendar, but nevertheless, I am sure that we will win the maximum number of licenses for the Games, today there are 138 of them."
Earlier this week, Matytsin stressed the need to ensure the fight against anti-doping was free from political interference following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
His remarks came shortly after Russian intelligence officers were charged in the United States for a cyberattack at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
Russia's Sports Ministry has also previously been accused of involvement in a state-sponsored doping programme in operation at major events including the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
Officials in the country have repeatedly spoken out against what they claim has been political moves against Russia by organisations including WADA.
RUSADA’s appeal is set to be heard by CAS from November 2 to 5.