Russian athletes consider IOC conditions excessive

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The recommendation of International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow the Russian and Belarusian athletes return to international competition as neutral is “excessive and discriminatory”, declared the athletes commission of the Russian Olympic Committee (COR).

The IOC sanctioned Russia and its ally Belarus after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022, but last month recommended that their athletes are allowed to return to international competition as neutrals.

The recommendations include thatRussian and Belarusian athletes can compete without a flag or anthemwhile athletes who support the war or are hired by military or national security agencies are excluded.

In March, the head of the COR, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, denounced the recommendations, a position supported by the athletes commission chaired by the former Olympic 800-meter champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy.

The Russian entity established, through a statement, the following:

The proposed reintegration and admission criteria are excessive and discriminatory: by nationality and by passport, by discipline and sport, and by affiliation to certain entities that have developed the sport for decades in most of the post-Soviet states.

In our opinion, a dangerous precedent has been set when no athlete in the world can be sure that their human and civil rights will be duly respected from now on, that decisions are made based on the Law and the Olympic Charter, without exemptions.

Today we athletes are being held hostage to political games that divide the international sports community and at the same time sow discord within the Olympic family, dictating the admission parameters, defining who is eligible to perform and who is not.

Table tennis, pentathlon, fencing, judo and taekwondo are some of the Olympic sports that have readmitted athletes from Russia and Belarus as neutrals.

The IOC will decide later on the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the 2024 Olympic Games, while Ukraine has threatened to boycott the sporting event if the Russians are allowed to compete.

On Tuesday, the sports ministers of UK and France they insisted that the Russian and Belarusian athletes must not compete as neutralswhile kyiv prohibited its national sports teams from participating in events that include athletes from the two nations.

(With information from Reuters)

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