Olympics 2024: IOC opens door to Russian and Belarussian athletes competing in Paris

Athletes wouldn’t be capable to compete below the Russian flag

Russian and Belarussian athletes may very well be free to compete as neutrals on the 2024 Olympics after the Worldwide Olympic Committee stated it can “explore a pathway” for his or her participation.

The IOC known as on federations to exclude athletes from the international locations following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This week Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky stated Russian athletes ought to have “no place” on the Paris Video games.

However the IOC’s assertion on Wednesday may clear the best way for his or her return.

It stated “no athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport”.

The transfer has been criticised in a joint-statement from Athletes for Ukraine and athlete affiliation World Athlete.

It stated the choice reveals the IOC “endorses Russia’s brutal war and invasion of Ukraine”.

“The return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competition, especially the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, will see the Russian state use athletes once more to bolster the war effort and distract from the atrocities in Ukraine on one of the biggest multi-sport stages in the world,” the assertion added.

The IOC stated participation in competitors, which might additionally embrace qualification occasions, would want athletes to participate as neutrals “and in no way represent their state or any other organisation in their country”.

The athletes should not have “acted against the peace mission of the IOC by actively supporting the war in Ukraine”.

President Thomas Bach stated in December the IOC confronted a “big dilemma” in making certain athletes don’t undergo because of sporting sanctions.

Some sporting federations have ignored the IOC advice and allowed particular person athletes to compete as neutrals however others have complied.

Two Belarusian tennis gamers, Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka, may meet within the Australian Open ladies’s singles ultimate this weekend. Each are competing as neutrals.

The Garden Tennis Affiliation was fined £820,000 for banning Russian and Belarusian gamers from final summer time’s grass-court occasions, together with Wimbledon.

The UK authorities says Belarus aided and abetted Russia’s invasion.