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15 Sep, 2022 08:51

Olympic bosses searching for solution on Russian bans – official

Russia was represented at an online meeting with IOC president Thomas Bach this week
Olympic bosses searching for solution on Russian bans – official

International Olympic officials are continuing to search for a solution to the issue of widespread bans on Russian athletes, according to the president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), Stanislav Pozdnyakov.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach held an online meeting on Wednesday with representatives from the IOC Athletes’ Commission as well as members of the Athletes’ Commissions from various National Olympic Committees (NOCs).

Russia was represented by Olympic fencing gold medalist Sofya Velikaya, who later reported that attention had been paid to the plight of Russian and Belarusian athletes following the IOC recommendation at the end of February to ban them from international competitions because of the conflict in Ukraine.

“The two-time Olympic champion (Sofya Velikaya) reasonably and consistently voiced the position of the Russian sporting community,” read a statement from ROC chief Pozdnyakov. 

“She emphasized the fact that the non-admission of athletes to competitions has a negative impact not only on those who are under sanctions, but also on all world sports and on the integrity of the Olympic movement.

“The participants at the meeting from the IOC, in response, assured her that they continue to look for a solution to the problem and maintain the necessary contacts with the Russian side,” added Pozdnyakov.

IOC president Bach recently indicated that the recommendation for bans on Russian athletes would not be lifted in the near term, describing it as “not the right time” to make the step.

Bach has attempted to justify his organization’s stance by claiming that bans partly protect Russian and Belarusian athletes from supposed hostility they would face when competing outside of their respective countries.

However, the IOC has been accused by Russia of allowing politics to undermine its principles, and of discriminating against Russian sportsmen and women when athletes from other nations were not punished similarly when the leadership of their countries launched foreign military campaigns.

ROC chief Pozdnyakov said earlier in September that Russian arguments were beginning to be heard more clearly, citing his invitation to the General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) in October as evidence of this.