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2 Oct, 2023 15:30

Russian Paralympic boss rules out ‘political demands’ for athletes

Some 300 Russian Paralympians could compete at the Paris Games next year, according to national committee chief Pavel Rozhkov
Russian Paralympic boss rules out ‘political demands’ for athletes

Russian athletes will participate at the 2024 Paris Paralympics but only if they are not required to sign political declarations, the President of Russia’s Paralympic Committee (RPC), Pavel Rozhkov, has announced. 

In an interview with TASS, the official stated that as many as 300 Russian athletes could take part in the Games next year under a neutral flag. 

“We hope that the Paralympic federations will allow our athletes to participate in competitions so that they can be selected. The criteria already exist in general terms, the (International Paralympic Committee) executive committee will formulate all this more clearly in the near future,” Rozhkov said. 

However, the RPC president stressed that no Russian athletes will participate at the Paris Paralympics if they have to sign political statements to be cleared to compete.  

“The question of declarations has not been discussed,” said Rozhkov, although he noted that a number of Olympic federations that hold Paralympic competitions have previously demanded that Russian athletes sign declarations condemning Moscow’s military campaign against Ukraine. “If this happens, our athletes will not go anywhere,” Rozhkov insisted.  

Russian athletes were due to take part at the Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing last year, but were banned in a last-minute reversal by the IPC because of the Ukraine conflict.  

The IPC later voted to suspend the RPC’s membership, although that decision was overturned in May after Russia successfully appealed. A tribunal of three judges found that the IPC had imposed the suspension with “procedural violations” and without producing any evidence of wrongdoing by the RPC. 

On Friday, the IPC Extraordinary General Assembly in Bahrain voted once again to suspend Russia, but allowed Russian athletes to participate in international competitions, including the Paralympic Games in Paris, under neutral status. 

The 2024 Paralympic Games are set to be held in Paris from August 28 to September 8.