Published On: Sat, Dec 9th, 2023
World | By MDN

Paris 2024 Olympics: Russian and Belarusian athletes allowed to compete as neutrals

Paris 2024 Olympics: Russian and Belarusian athletes allowed to compete as neutrals
Paris 2024 Olympics: Russian and Belarusian athletes allowed to compete as neutrals

Russian and Belarusian athletes who have qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympics will be allowed to participate as neutrals, the International Olympic Committee has confirmed.

The conditions of their inclusion include competing without flags, emblems or anthems of their country.

Athletes from those nations were banned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Letting individuals take part was about “respecting human rights” the IOC said.

However, World Athletics said its position remains unchanged, with athletes, support personnel and officials from Russia and Belarus remaining excluded “from all World Athletics Series events”.

“You may well see some neutral athletes from Russia and Belarus in Paris, it just won’t be in athletics,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said on Friday.

Speaking at the World Athletics Council Meeting in Monaco, Coe added: “We have a fixed position. I think it is right that International Federations should make judgements that they feel is in the best interest of their sport. That is what our council has done.”

Ukraine had threatened to boycott the 2024 Games if the ban was not upheld but Ukraine’s sports minister Vadym Huttsait told Reuters in July it could drop that threat if Russian and Belarusian athletes were made to compete under a neutral flag.

The IOC’s decision comes after Olympic sports federations asked for Russian and Belarusian athletes to be allowed to compete as neutrals in Paris earlier this week.

“The executive board of the IOC has decided that individual neutral athletes (AINs) who have qualified through the existing qualification systems of the International Federations on the field of play will be declared eligible to compete at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 in accordance with the conditions outlined,” the Olympic body said on Friday.

“AINs are athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport. The strict eligibility conditions based on the recommendations issued by the IOC executive board on 28 March 2023 for international federations and international sports event organisers will be applied.”

Paris 2024 organisers said they were “taking note” of the IOC’s decision and reiterated that qualification for the Games “falls under the responsibility of the IOC and the International Federations”.

“Paris 2024’s responsibility is to host athletes who have qualified for the Games under the best possible conditions, regardless of their nationality,” organisers said.

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