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Olympics 2024: Estonia evokes a boycott if the Russians participate


The Estonian Prime Minister has hinted that her country may boycott the 2024 Olympics in Paris if Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to participate.

“The participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes is just bad.

The boycott is therefore the next step,” Kaja Kallas, Estonian Prime Minister, told reporters.

After “recommending” the exclusion of the Russians and Belarusians almost a year ago, the IOC began a series of consultations in December to organize their return, in the name of the “unifying mission” of sport, provided that did not "actively support the war in Ukraine".

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kyiv immediately accused the Olympic body of "promoting war", and threatened to boycott the Paris Games if Russians participate.

Moscow, for its part, believes that all restrictions must be lifted and that the Olympics must not be politicized.

"Russia has killed hundreds of Ukrainian athletes, including Olympic champions and world champions," Ms. Kallas said alongside her Latvian and Lithuanian counterparts.

Accusing Moscow of using sport as a "propaganda tool", Ms Kallas added that there were soldiers among Russian athletes.

"If you look at the Tokyo Olympic medalists, 45 of them were actually members of the Russian military," Ms Kallas said.

However, she added that the other states had to be convinced not to let the Russians and Belarusians compete.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte shared this view, telling the press that the boycott "may not be as impressive as the outright exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes", which she described as a 'preferred option'.

Polish Sports Minister Kamil Bortniczuk told Polish news agency PAP on Friday that boycotting the Olympics would be "the strongest card and a last resort".

Mr Bortniczuk had earlier said he expected “a very strong position” at a meeting scheduled for February 10 with representatives from 40 countries.

“I would give the IOC a chance to reflect without putting it into a corner with such strong alternatives for now,” Bortniczuk told PAP.

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2023-02-03

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