March 13 - A Tajik Olympic official says the country sold one of its official accreditations to the Olympics in Vancouver last month to a Russian comedian.

Muhammadshoh Abdulloev, the head of Tajikistan's National Olympic Committee delegation to Vancouver, told RFE/RL that prominent comedian Gennady Khazanov officially represented Tajikistan at the Olympics last month.

Abdulloev said the cash-strapped Tajik delegation could not afford to invite Tajik guests to the Olympics and therefore claims he had to sell two of its official accreditations to the Bosco Sport Company for $2,000 (£1,316) and a promise by Bosco to sponsor the Tajik delegation at the Olympics in London in 2012.

It is not known how much Khazanov paid Bosco, who are a Tier One sponsor for Sochi 2014 and the official supplier of kit to the Russian team, for the Tajik accreditation.

The Tajik Olympic team was represented in Vancouver by only two athletes - alpine skiers Andrei Drygin and Alisher Qudratov.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) paid all expenses of the Tajik athletes, their coaches, and officials in Vancouver.

Tajikistan, the smallest country in central Asia, is one of the poorest countries in the world with 20 per cent of the population having to live on less than £1 a day.

The country made its Olympic debut at Atlanta in 1996 following the break-up of the Soviet Union.

It won its first medals at Beijing in 2008 when Yusup Abdusalomov claimed silver in the wrestling and Rasul Boqiev bronze in the judo.