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8 Dec, 2023 14:33

Russian athletes allowed to compete at 2024 Olympics

The country’s sportsmen and women will be permitted to participate under a neutral flag
Russian athletes allowed to compete at 2024 Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has ruled that Russian and Belarusian athletes will be allowed to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games under neutral status.

According to a statement published on the IOC website on Friday, Individual Neutral Athletes (AINs) – which the organization’s Executive Committee defines as athletes who hold a Russian or Belarusian passport – will be eligible to compete under set conditions, provided they have completed qualifying events.

The decision applies to individuals, and the IOC ruled that Russians and Belarusians will not be allowed to compete in team sports at the Games. Any athletes or other personnel who “actively support” Moscow’s military campaign against Ukraine will also be barred.

Likewise, athletes and support personnel who are contracted to the Russian or Belarusian military or national security agencies will not be eligible for entry or competition. Additionally, all AINs will have to meet anti-doping requirements established by international federations.

The IOC further noted that its sanctions on the Russian and Belarusian states and governments will remain in place for the Paris Games. This means that no flags, anthems, colors, or any other national identifications of the two countries will be allowed to be displayed at any official venue or function at the event. Russian and Belarussian government state officials will not be invited or accredited for the Games, the IOC wrote.

Of the 4,600 athletes from around the world who have so far qualified for Paris 2024, only 11 are neutral athletes – eight Russian and three Belarusian nationals.

Russia has described the terms set out for its athletes as “humiliating,” and has accused the IOC of politicizing sport. President Vladimir Putin last month described the Olympic movement as a far cry from years past.

“Some things have been lost for good,” Putin said, claiming that access to the Games was now being used to pressure people “who have no connection to politics” to accept certain points of view. This effectively amounts to “racist, ethnic discrimination,” the Russian leader said.