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17 Mar, 2024 11:24

Only 40 Russians will compete in Olympics - IOC

The International Olympic Committee has barred Russia from sending a unified team due to the conflict with Ukraine
Only 40 Russians will compete in Olympics - IOC

The number of Russians participating at the Paris Games under a neutral flag could be as low as 40, International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President John Coates said in an interview with Sunday’s edition of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.

In December, the IOC barred Russia from sending a unified team to the 2024 Summer Games in Paris, citing the ongoing military conflict with Ukraine. Athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus can still participate, but only as ‘Individual Neutral Athletes’.

“The issue is how many of them are going to be there too, because they’re not going to be in any team sports because they can’t compete as Russia,” Coates told the newspaper.

“And then anyone who is prepared out of the Russian military clubs, they’re not going. I don’t know, but obviously some athletes might choose not to go if they’re not competing for Russia,” he said, adding that media reports assuming that the number of those coming “might be as little as 40” are close to the truth.

The top official stressed that he might not be right.

Following the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, the IOC recommended that athletes from Russia and Belarus, Moscow’s key ally, should not be allowed to compete in international events.

In September, however, IOC President Thomas Bach said athletes from those countries could be allowed to take part in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris under a neutral flag and on the condition they “do not support the war and are not linked to the military, or to other services.”

Commenting on the decision, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that such policies could end up burying the Olympic movement, insisting that “sport is outside of politics.”

The IOC has yet to announce whether Russian and Belarusian athletes can take part in the Opening Ceremony under the neutral flag. They are expected to decide on the matter at their next session, later this month. Earlier this month, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said that Russian and Belarusian Paralympic athletes will not take part in their Opening Ceremony on August 28.

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