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Russian And Belarusian Athletes Banned From Winter Paralympics


Russian And Belarusian Athletes Banned From Winter Paralympics

Ahead of the start of the 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympic Games, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced Russian and Belarusian athletes will be banned from competing in the Paralympics.

The announcement comes amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, with the IPC originally saying athletes from Russia and Belarus would be allowed to compete under a neutral flag, before receiving negative feedback from other competing countries.

Discussing the change of decision, IPC president, Andrew Parsons, issued a statement confirming other countries had threatened to boycott the Games if Russian and Belarusian athletes weren’t outright banned.

“In taking our decision yesterday, we were looking at the long-term health and survival of the Paralympic Movement,” Parsons said.

“We are fiercely proud of the principles and values that have made the movement what it is today.

“However, what is clear is that the rapidly escalating situation has now put us in a unique and impossible position so close to the start of the Games.

“Yesterday we said we would continue to listen, and that is what we are doing.

“In the last 12 hours, an overwhelming number of members have been in touch with us and been very open, for which I am grateful.

“They have told us that, if we do not reconsider our decision, it is now likely to have grave consequences for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.

“Multiple NPCs (National Paralympic Committees), some of which have been contacted by their governments, teams and athletes, are threatening not to compete.

“Ensuring the safety and security of athletes is of paramount importance to us and the situation in the athlete villages is escalating and has now become untenable,” he said.

Addressing the athletes from Russia and Belarus affected by the recent decision, Parsons said: “First and foremost, we have a duty as part of the Paralympic Mission, enshrined in the constitution, to guarantee and supervise the organisation of successful Paralympic Games, to ensure that, in sport practised within the Paralympic Movement, the spirit of fair play prevails, violence is banned, the health risk of the athletes is managed and fundamental ethical principles are upheld.”

“With this in mind, and in order to preserve the integrity of these Games and the safety of all participants, we have decided to refuse the athlete entries from RPC (Russian Paralympic Committee) and NPC Belarus.

“To the Para athletes from the impacted countries, we are very sorry that you are affected by the decisions your governments took last week in breaching the Olympic Truce.

“You are victims of your governments’ actions.

“I hope and pray that we can get back to a situation when the talk and focus is fully on the power of sport to transform the lives of persons with disabilities, and the best of humanity,” Parsons said.

Before the original decision was overturned and Russian and Belarusian athletes were banned, Paralympics Australia president, Jock O’Callaghan, said: “We cannot ignore the humanitarian crisis before us.”

“We oppose these hostilities and join the growing number of sporting institutions from across the globe, including within the Paralympic family, who are calling for an immediate ban on Russian and Belarusian participation at all sporting events,” he said.

The move sees the IPC become the latest international sporting organisation to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes; for full coverage, see Ministry of Sport’s recent comprehensive reports.

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