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Olympics 2024: outcry against the IOC's desire to reinstate Russian athletes


Denmark and Great Britain have strongly opposed the IOC's attempt to reinstate Russian athletes in view of the Games o

Several countries, including Great Britain and Denmark, opposed this Thursday the initiative of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to find a "path" to allow Russian athletes to participate in the Paris Olympics in 2024 ( July 26 - August 11, 2024), despite the invasion of Ukraine.

Ignoring calls from kyiv to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in the next Games, the IOC said on Wednesday that ways to allow them to do so should be "further explored".

Russia and Belarus have been sidelined from most sporting events since the Russian military invaded Ukraine in February 2022. "No athlete should be banned from competition on the basis of their passport alone," said however estimated the Committee.

The Olympic Council of Asia (COA) has for its part proposed to integrate Russian and Belarusian athletes into its regional competitions such as the Asian Games, expressing its support for the position of the IOC.

The COA's proposal could notably allow banned athletes to participate in its regional qualifying events, some of which have already started, for the 2024 Olympics.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is strongly opposed to any attempt to reinstate Moscow and Minsk, and Ukraine threatened again on Thursday to boycott the Paris Games if the IOC went ahead.

"If we are not heard, I do not exclude the possibility that we boycott and refuse to participate in the Olympics," said Ukrainian Sports Minister Vadym Gutzeit.

Michelle Donelan, the British Minister of Culture who is also in charge of Sports, for her part considered that the IOC initiative was “very far removed from the realities of war”.

“We condemn any initiative that would allow President Putin to legitimize his illegal war in Ukraine,” she continued.

IOC President Thomas Bach himself condemned Russia less than a year ago for violating the Olympic truce.


Anne Hidalgo's "yes but"

The head of the Danish Olympic Committee, Hans Natorp, stressed that his country was also strongly opposed to Russia's return to the Olympic world.

“Russian aggression in Ukraine is intensifying,” he tweeted.

"In these circumstances, it would be unacceptable to allow Russia and Belarus to participate in sporting events."

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, however wanted Russian athletes to be able to participate in the Olympics but under a neutral banner.

“I think this is a moment for athletes and that athletes should not be deprived of their competition, she explained on France 2. But I think and I plead, like a large part of the sports movement , so that there is no delegation under the Russian banner.


The IOC recalled on Wednesday that it is the international federation of each sport concerned at the Olympic Games which has "sole authority" in the matter.

Source: leparis

All sports articles on 2023-01-26

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