Russian sport ‘expanding circle of partners’ – Olympic official
Interest in Russian sporting expertise remains high and the country will continue to expand its group of international partners, according to Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Stanislav Pozdnyakov.
Pozdnyakov has been part of a Russian delegation attending the General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) in the South Korean capital of Seoul this week.
Sharing a social media message on Thursday, Pozdnyakov discussed part of his activities at the event.
“We are preparing to sign memorandums of cooperation with colleagues from the NOCs (National Olympic Committees) of South Africa, Mali and Peru,” wrote the four-time Olympic fencing champion.
“In particular, more and more NOCs are interested in our capabilities in the education and training of coaches.
“Representatives of our NOCs will discuss the details of the agreements, but I suggest not wasting time on formalities and moving on to the practical implementation of what we agreed on during the working meetings as soon as possible.
“It can be firmly said that the Russian Olympic Committee is expanding its circle of partners and friends,” added the head of the ROC.
“Just today we held meetings with the NOCs of several countries, including the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia and Peru.”
Pozdnyakov addressed the General Assembly on Thursday in his role as chair of the ANOC’s Culture and Education Commission, showing a video to delegates which featured footage of international events held in Russia this year.
That prompted Danish delegate Hans Natorp to walk out of the hall, with the official later claiming that the presentation was “propaganda.”
Officials from Denmark had been among 11 National Olympic Committees which had questioned Russian and Belarusian participation at the ANOC gathering, according to Inside the Games.
Their attendance comes as Russian and Belarusian athletes remain banned from a wide variety of sports following a recommendation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the end of February because of the conflict in Ukraine.
IOC president Thomas Bach has said sports officials from the two nations should not be directly sanctioned – a stance he repeated at the ANOC General Assembly earlier this week.
Speaking on Wednesday, Pozdnyakov thanked the delegations which had expressed support for the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competition.
“The main result, in my opinion, is the position of the overwhelming majority of National Olympic Committees on the inadmissibility of discrimination against athletes for political reasons,” Pozdnyakov said.
“It sounded quite clear. This was also confirmed by the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, who gave a convincing response to radical attacks against Russians and Belarusians.”
Bach said in his opening remarks that it was “not the time” to lift the recommendation for a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes.
The German official has argued that the IOC’s stance partly serves to protect Russian and Belarusian athletes from supposed hostility they would face outside their homelands.
Bach has also said the suspension of athletes ensures that governments in specific countries do not take matters into their own hands by imposing bans, which he claims would mean the complete “politicization” of sport.
Numerous Russian officials and sporting figures have described the IOC’s position and the sweeping bans imposed on the nation’s athletes as discriminatory, and contrary to Olympic principles of sport being outside politics.
Pozdnyakov and Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin have both said a priority is to ensure Russian athletes are at least cleared in time for qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.