Brussels, 6 February 2023 (TDI): Severe criticism was raised by the European countries on the announcement of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the participation of Russian & Belarus athletes in the Olympics 2024 on February 3rd.
During the meeting, IOC announced that they were exploring the avenues to allow Russian and Belarussian athletes to compete in the 2024 games in Paris under a neutral flag.
They mentioned that no athlete should be prevented from competing but the gesture was challenged by Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia in a joint statement during the meeting.
The aforementioned countries vehemently condemned and raised several objections to inviting the aggressor states of Russia and Belarus.
Later that day on Polish state television, Sports & Tourism Minister, Kamil Bortniczuk claimed that up to 40 countries will boycott the Olympics 2024 in response to IOC’s statement for including Russian and Belarusian athletes at the Olympics.
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The IOC responded that any boycott would only “punish athletes,” but Ukraine sports Minister, Vadym Gutzeit stressed that all efforts must be made to make sure Russia and Belarus are not represented in any way at the event in Paris.
Ukrainian Sports Minister also reiterated that they will address all international organizations that can influence the situation and whose opinions the IOC members can listen to.
He went on to reiterate that “Our position is unchanged: Russian and Belarusian athletes should not be in international competitions as long as there is a war in Ukraine.
Certainly, our national sporting federations need to strengthen communication with international federations to keep the ban in effect. If we are not heard, I do not rule out the possibility that we will boycott and refuse participation in the Olympics.”
Speaking to DW, former Russian world number one tennis player Yevgeny Kafelnikov said he favored allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete at the Olympics.
In this vein, he stated that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many and that they are unable to speak out against the current situation.