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IOC allows 11 Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete at Paris 2024 if they do not openly support the invasion of Ukraine

2023-12-08T18:07:52.621Z

Highlights: IOC allows 11 Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete at Paris 2024 if they do not openly support the invasion of Ukraine. Of the 4,600 athletes who have qualified for Paris 2024, the IOC assures that only eight Russians and three Belarusians will participate under a neutral flag. His performance in team sports has been banned. "We are maintaining preparations for the Games at the highest level, we have not yet received a clear answer from the IOC," Sergei Drozdov, director of the Russian Sports Ministry's high-performance sports department said on Thursday.


Of the 4,600 athletes who have qualified for Paris 2024, the IOC assures that only eight Russians and three Belarusians will participate under a neutral flag. His performance in team sports has been banned


Paris 2024 will open its courts to Russian and Belarusian athletes, but neither the flag of the country that has invaded Ukraine nor that of the regime that ceded its territory to launch the offensive on Kiev will fly on the flagpoles of its stadiums. The leadership of the International Olympic Committee has agreed to allow athletes to participate under a neutral flag and provided they meet "a strict set of conditions" including "not actively supporting the war". In addition, the international organization stresses that the participation of both countries will be testimonial, six times less than that of Ukraine. "Of the 4,600 athletes who have qualified for Paris 2024, there will only be 11 neutral athletes (eight with Russian passports and three with Belarusians). For comparison, more than 60 Ukrainian athletes have qualified to date," the IOC said.

"Athletes who actively support the war will not be eligible to be registered or to compete," the body emphasizes. In addition, it also vetoes the representatives of both countries in team competitions and all athletes in general who have had some kind of contract with the armed forces or any other national security agency. This point is key because many of its professional athletes, although they do not have a direct link to the war, have developed their careers from childhood to university in state clubs sponsored by the military, such as the Central Army Sports Club, the well-known CSKA.

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IOC proclaims athletes' support for Russian participation in Paris 2024 Olympic Games before consulting them

The go-ahead for the next Olympic Games had been pending for half a year, when the IOC executive board agreed to readmit Russian and Belarusian athletes without clarifying whether they would be able to participate in the world's biggest sporting event. In between, the Olympic Movement suspended the Russian Olympic Committee for extending its jurisdiction to the occupied territories in Ukraine: Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Crimea.

Russian sport regrets that its participation in Paris will be testimonial. "It's too late, many qualifying tournaments have already passed," Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpishchev told the TASS news agency. "These humiliating conditions, without a flag or anthem, are unacceptable to us," denounced the head of national gymnastics, Irina Víner.

In any case, the Russians, despite their confrontation with the Olympic Movement, have continued to prepare for the French event. "We are maintaining preparations for the Games at the highest level, we have not yet received a clear answer from the IOC," Sergei Drozdov, director of the Russian Sports Ministry's high-performance sports department, said on Thursday.

The organization highlights in its statement that the athletes of both countries must sign, like the rest of the participants, their commitment to the Olympic Charter and their "mission of peace". According to Moscow, the IOC's position has been "politicized" since it recommended excluding Russia and Belarus from all competitions shortly after the invasion of Ukraine began.

The Kremlin's response to the Olympic Movement has been to organise its own international competition next year, although it has not dared to overlap it with the world event in Paris. The International Friendship Games are scheduled to be held in Moscow from September 15 to 29, 2024, although the IOC has asked other countries not to participate "given the increasing politicization of global sport."

Russia also denounces the alleged double standards of the Olympic Movement with its country and with Israel. "The fact that they now say that it is inadmissible to call for the collective responsibility of athletes around the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is outrageous," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov lamented in mid-November. The IOC's communication service explained days later to the Russian sports channel Match TV that the measures taken against Moscow were a consequence of the start of the Russian offensive on February 24, 2022, just between the end of the Beijing Winter Olympics and the start of its Paralympic modality. "This was a violation of the Olympic Truce in force at the time — requested by the UN at the end of 2021 — and a violation of the Olympic Charter," the body said.

The United Nations General Assembly has approved a new resolution calling for an Olympic truce on the occasion of Paris 2024. The initiative was approved by a resounding majority, 118 votes in favour, none against and two abstentions: that of Russia and that of its ally – and enemy of Israel – in the Middle East, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

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Source: elparis

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