A number of countries, including the UK and Denmark, this Thursday opposed the initiative of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to find a “track” for the admission of Russian athletes to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympics (July 26 – August 11, 2024). despite the invasion of Ukraine. Ignoring Kyiv’s calls to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from the next Games, the IOC said on Wednesday it needed to “further explore” ways to allow them to do so.
Russia and Belarus have been excluded from most sporting events since the Russian military invaded Ukraine in February 2022. “No athlete should be excluded from competition solely on the basis of their passport,” the Committee stated, however. The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), for its part, proposed to integrate Russian and Belarusian athletes into their regional competitions, such as the Asian Games, expressing support for the position of the IOC. The COA proposal could notably allow banned athletes to compete in regional qualifying competitions, some of which have already begun, for the 2024 Olympics.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is vehemently opposed to any attempt to rebuild Moscow and Minsk, and on Thursday Ukraine again threatened to boycott the Paris Games if the IOC did so. “If we are not heard, I do not rule out that we will boycott and refuse to participate in the Olympics,” said the Minister of Sports of Ukraine Vadym Gutseit.
Michelle Donelan, the British Minister of Culture, who is also responsible for sports, for her part believes that the IOC initiative is “very far 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 “Yes, but”
The head of the Danish Olympic Committee, Hans Natorp, stressed that his country is also categorically against Russia’s return to the Olympic world. “Russian aggression in Ukraine is intensifying,” he wrote on Twitter. “Under these conditions, it would be unacceptable to allow Russia and Belarus to participate in sporting events.”
However, the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, wanted Russian athletes to be able to participate in the Olympics, but under neutral banners. “I think this is a moment for athletes, and that athletes should not be denied the opportunity to compete,” she explained at France 2. But I think and plead, like most of the sports movement, that there is no delegation under the Russian banner. »
The IOC reminded on Wednesday that it is the international federation of each sport participating in the Olympic Games that has “sole right” in this matter.
Source: Le Parisien
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