Russia invited to Olympic gathering as ‘voice being heard’ – official
Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Stanislav Pozdnyakov has said his organization has been invited to the next General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) – which he indicated was a sign of a changing situation.
Russian and Belarusian representatives were banned from a similar gathering held by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) earlier this year, prompting Pozdnyakov to describe the decision as “frankly absurd.”
But speaking to journalists in Moscow on Friday, the ROC chief said Russia would not be snubbed by the ANOC meeting which is set for South Korean capital Seoul in October.
“A lot has happened. The most important thing is understanding the place and role of the Olympic movement, rethinking basic values that have become more relevant than ever,” said Pozdnyakov, who is four-time Olympic fencing gold medalist.
“The main idea of the political neutrality of the Olympic movement has been questioned.
“These are all the consequences, from my point of view, of a certain media war on Russia and Russians.”
“But we see that our voices, one way or another, are beginning to be heard,” Pozdnyakov, 48, added.
“The most striking sign of this was the invitation of the ROC to the General Assembly of the Olympic Committees (ANOC), I received an invitation to take part in the meeting of the Executive Committee.
“This is a good platform for discussion, for the normalization of those contradictions that arose, I emphasize, through no fault of our own.”
Pozdnyakov also addressed suggestions that Russian and Belarusian athletes could be forced to miss the Paris 2024 Olympic Games because they will be not cleared to compete in qualifying events beforehand.
“We will insist on the full participation of all our athletes during the qualifying period, but there are many details that need to be worked out,” Pozdnyakov said, according to RIA Novosti.
“Diplomacy loves silence, so in the near future, I think there will be no loud statements. In no case should our athletes stop actively training and preparing for the Olympic Games.
“This is necessary so that at the moment when our partners realize the need for our athletes to return, they are fully equipped to come through qualification and go to the Olympics.”
Pozdnyakov added that it was not plausible to describe a “point of no return” for clearing Russian athletes to compete at the 2024 Olympics, given that various sports hold their qualifying events at different times.
Despite the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recommendation on February 28 for federations across all sports to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes wherever possible, Pozdnyakov said the ROC remained in touch with the organization – of which it continues to be a member.
“I can’t tell you everything, but we have been in contact since February 24. Contact has not gone away,” said the official.
Russia remains a member of the IOC despite calls from the likes of the US State Department and its allies that the country should be “suspended from international sports federations” and deprived of the broadcasting rights to global sporting showpieces.