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3 Feb, 2022 01:54

Putin calls for ‘fair play’ and no politics at Beijing Olympics

Russia's president has condemned attempts to politicize sports ahead of the winter games in China
Putin calls for ‘fair play’ and no politics at Beijing Olympics

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for the principles of fair play in sports as well as politics to be honored, in an article for Chinese state news agency Xinhua, published ahead of his visit to Beijing for the upcoming Winter Olympics.

While he is scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines to talk trade and political cooperation, Putin called the Winter Games “a major event of global significance,” adding that China has done “tremendous work” to prepare for them.

The 2008 Summer Olympics were “organized with the scale and exceptional hospitality inherent to our Chinese friends,” he wrote, expecting no less this time around.

“Russia has been and remains committed to the traditional Olympic values. We oppose the attempts to politicize sport or use it as a tool of coercion, unfair competition and discrimination,” Putin said, addressing the ban on Russian state symbols at the upcoming games.

“We reject the practice of ‘collective punishment’ for acts perpetrated by individual people, which has recently become a frequent occurrence. And of course, we strongly condemn the use of prohibited substances by athletes and advocate broad international cooperation in the fight against doping in sport,” the president added.

Citing a questionable report by a runaway official, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accused Russia of manipulating doping data at a state laboratory, and banned the country from major international events for four years. That ban was later reduced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland, and will expire in December 2022. 

“Sadly, attempts by a number of countries to politicize sports to the benefit of their ambitions have recently intensified,” Putin noted in his Xinhua article. “This is fundamentally wrong and contrary to the very spirit and principles of the Olympic Charter.”

“The power and greatness of sports are that it brings people together, gives moments of triumph and pride for the country and delights with fair, just and uncompromising competition,” he added.

The US announced in early December it would not send an official diplomatic delegation to the games, citing Chinese “human rights violations.” Its allies Australia, the UK, Canada, Estonia, Latvia, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Denmark have since followed suit.