Russia has emerged as a contender to host the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games ©Getty Images

Russia is one of four countries to have expressed an interest in hosting the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games as the nation continues its attempt to reintegrate into the Olympic Movement following the widespread doping scandal.

An International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesperson confirmed Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and Spain were interested in staging the event in five years' time.

China has also opened discussions with Lausanne 2020 regarding a possible bid but the country has not yet formally indicated it wishes to enter the race.

The exact cities in the countries have not yet been revealed.

The process to select the host of the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics is expected to start this year before the city is chosen in 2020.

The revelation regarding Russia's potential candidacy is likely to spark outcry from athletes and officials who believe the country should not be given the right to host major competitions after the scandal-hit nation orchestrated a widespread doping programme at events including the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Russia remains at risk of being suspended again by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), a decision which could prevent the nation being awarded sporting events, after it missed a December 31 deadline to grant the organisation access to data and samples stored at the Moscow Laboratory.

A three-member WADA team has travelled to the facility in Moscow today in the hope of securing the data after a previous attempt failed as it was blocked by Russian authorities, who said their equipment had not been certified under Russian law.

Access to the laboratory before the deadline was a compulsory condition set when the WADA Executive Committee controversially lifted the suspension of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) on September 20.

With the deadline having now lapsed, calls have been made for RUSADA to be declared non-compliant again.

China has begun discussions with Lausanne 2020 regarding a possible bid for the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics ©Lausanne 2020
China has begun discussions with Lausanne 2020 regarding a possible bid for the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics ©Lausanne 2020

WADA's Compliance Review Committee is due to meet to discuss the Russian saga on January 14 and 15, with reinsating the ban on Russia among the possible recommendations it could make to the Executive Committee.

IOC President Thomas Bach has signalled that Russia will not be banned from Tokyo 2020 even if a suspension is reimposed on RUSADA as the country has "served its sanction".

But Russia could be prevented from hosting and bidding for major events if the WADA Executive Committee votes to declare RUSADA non-compliant under stricter standards which came into effect earlier this year.

The IOC would almost certainly face criticism if the organisation allows Russia to bid for the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games given the doping scandal and the nation's subsequent refusal to comply with demands set out by WADA and to accept wrongdoing.

Other International Federations have awarded events to Russia since WADA lifted the suspension on RUSADA in September.

Bulgaria emerged as a contender for the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics in September, while Brașov comprehensively lost out to Lausanne in the race to stage the 2020 edition so could feasibly be the Romanian candidate.

Spain's candidacy also raises concerns over political discrimination as the nation refuses to recognise countries such as Kosovo.

The Spanish Government promised to allow Kosovan athletes to compete under their own flag in November after it reached an agreement with the IOC and the Spanish Olympic Committee.

Opposition to Kosovo remains in some parts of the Government, however.