Russians competing as “neutral athletes” at the Paralympics

According to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Russians and Belarusians participating in the Beijing Winter Paralympics will compete as “neutral athletes” for their role in the war with Ukraine.

Russian athletes were scheduled to compete as RPCs for the Russian Paralympic Commission as a punishment for state-sponsored doping scandals and subsequent concealment work at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

When the Paralympics were held on Friday, the IPC put more restrictions on Russians. Belarus has been sanctioned for playing a role in supporting Russia in the invasion of Ukraine and the war.

However, there was no expulsion. And it became nervous.

At a press conference in Beijing hours after the decision, a reporter who said he was working at Keewpost tells IPC Chairman Andrew Parsons what to say to the family of young biathlon player Yeff Henmari Chef. I asked.

Marishev was killed in Ukraine this week, but the exact circumstances of his death are unknown. The International Biathlon Union said on Wednesday that he “died to serve Ukrainian troops this week.”

A Kieupost reporter put up a picture of a young man when he asked Parsons.

Lee Leney
Lee Reaney, a Canadian journalist working at Kyiv Post, has a photo of Yevhen Malyshev, a 19-year-old former athlete from the Ukrainian Junior Biathlon team. He died to serve the Ukrainian army, according to the International Biathlon Union. During a press conference at the 2022 Winter Paralympics held in Beijing on March 2, 2022. (AndyWong / AP Photo)

“I can’t even imagine the pain his family is currently feeling,” Parsons said. “I can only tell them that my deepest thoughts are with them. This is absolutely unfair. I hate it. It’s against humanity.”

Parsons repeatedly defended the decision not to expel Russian and Belarusian players, saying it was not allowed by IPC rules. The IPC is based in Germany, and he said the expulsion “will be overturned in German court.”

“The true belief in the principles of political neutrality and the transformative power of sport must be our North Star, our strength, or perhaps our lifeboat,” Parsons added.

Andrew Parsons
Andrew Parsons, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), will speak with Ukrainian journalists at a press conference at the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing on March 2, 2022. (Andy Wong / AP Photo)

Ukraine-based reporters are the only journalists from the country where he managed to arrive in Beijing, to explain why Russians and Belarusians should be allowed to compete even as neutral athletes. It put pressure on the Parsons again. He repeatedly identified them as coming from an “invading country.”

“I can’t even imagine how painful it is to be Ukrainian now,” said Brazilian Parsons. “I sympathize and try to sympathize. Difficult. My country is not at war and my family is not hiding in the subway in my country’s capital.”

IPC spokesman Craig Spence acknowledged a lot of aversion to allowing Russians and Belarusians to compete.

“We are now looking at us the world, and they may not agree with the decision,” Spence said.

Nadine Dolly, the British minister in charge of sports, called it a “wrong decision.”

“They (IPCs) must join other parts of the world to condemn this barbaric aggression by banning competition between Russian and Belarusian athletes,” she said.

Mr Parsons said the decision was not unanimous among his dozens of board members, but the majority said he supported it. He did not give a breakdown of the vote.

Both delegations have been removed from the medal table and the IPC has stated that it will not hold an event in either country “while the status quo”. Parsons called it “the toughest punishment we can make within our Constitution and current IPC rules.”

Russian and Belarusian athletes will instead compete under the Paralympic flag and use the Paralympic national anthem. The RPC delegation must cover the uniform “RPC” symbol at all events and ceremonies. The Belarusian delegation must cover the national flag of the uniform.

The IPC also said it would withdraw the “Paralympic honor” given to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The “Paralympic Order” was also withdrawn. Dmitry Chernyschenko, Chairman of the Sochi Organizing Committee (now Deputy Prime Minister of Russia). Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitry Kozak (now Deputy Prime Minister of Cheong Wa Dae). Oleg Shiromorotov, Director of Inter-Ministry Security Command at Sochigame (currently Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs). Alexander Goroboy, Deputy Chief of Inter-Ministerial Security Command Center (now the first Deputy Minister of Interior).

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday urged sports organizations to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes from international events, but the final decision was left to the individual governing bodies.

The IOC has stated that action is now needed “to protect the integrity of global sporting events and for the safety of all participants”, but Russians and Belarusians as neutral athletes or teams. If they could compete, they left sports groups with ways to avoid exclusions. Due to a sudden notice, I could not be banished.

The IPC move arises because Russia is barred from competing on a long list of sports, including ice skating, skiing, soccer, hockey, basketball, athletics, and several tennis events. Some sports, such as swimming, do not follow the IOC’s recommendations to ban Russians and instead allow them to compete as neutral athletes.

However, the IOC has not removed membership or leadership status from the Russians in its organization.

Dozens of Ukrainian athletes have sent open letters to the IOC and IPC calling for the suspension of the Olympic and Paralympic Committees in Russia and Belarus.

“Your lack of action will send a message to all athletes and the world that you have chosen the interests of Russia and Belarus over the interests of athletes,” the letter said. “Your heritage is defined by your actions.”

Parsons acknowledged that some Paralympic athletes may refuse to compete with Russian athletes. He also said the IPC’s options were “limited” due to possible legal objections from Russia or elsewhere.

IOC President Thomas Bach did not attend the Paralympics and nominated Parsons, a member of the IOC, to represent his body. IOC Vice President Ser Miang Ng was scheduled to attend, but the COVID-19 test was positive. According to the IOC, the symptoms of Ng were mild.

Epoch Times Photo
Russia wearing the Sochi Winter Olympics jacket lined up with colleagues outside the store selling official Olympic souvenirs prior to the 2022 Winter Paralympics held at the Beijing Main Media Center on March 2, 2022. New agency journalist. (Andy Wong / AP photo)

According to Paralympic officials, the Winter Paralympics will be attended by 648 athletes and 49 delegations. Last month’s Winter Olympics had 2,900 athletes and 91 delegations participated.

According to officials, 71 Russian athletes will participate in the Paralympics and 20 from Ukraine will participate. All Ukrainian delegations were expected to arrive in time for the opening ceremony on Friday. The Paralympics will end on March 13.

Stephen Wade

Associated Press