Russia rules out any boycott of the Olympic Games by its athletes

The President of the Russian Olympic Committee, Stanislav Pozdniakov, in Moscow on September 14, 2023.

“A boycott of the Games leads nowhere.” Russia will not boycott the 2024 Olympics in Paris, ured the president of the Russian Olympic Committee, Stanislav Pozdniakov, during a press briefing on the sidelines of a congress of Russian Olympic athletes. The latter affirmed that each Russian athlete would be free to choose whether they wished to participate under a neutral banner or not.

Stanislav Pozdniakov recalled the boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow by Western countries, in protest against the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan launched in 1979. “athletes were unable to participate in competitions and the political boycott led to very negative results: neither party emerged as a winner”he stressed, believing that “sport must distance itself from politics”.

Russian athletes were banned from competition after the launch of the Russian offensive in Ukraine in 2022. But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended last March the reintegration of Russian and Belarusian athletes into international competitions, under a neutral and “individually”for those who did not actively support the offensive in Ukraine.

Few athletes expected

According to Mr. Pozdniakov, any Russian athlete will be able to participate in the 2024 Olympics under a neutral banner, if they wish to do so and if they are authorized to do so by the IOC. “We live in a free country. Each athlete is free to make their choice”to know “show solidarity with teammates banned from the Olympic Games for invented reasons or decide to participate under a neutral banner”declared Mr. Pozdniakov again.

However, he stressed that the “IOC recommendations” were “prohibitive in nature” and would not allow “not a large number of Russian athletes to participate in the Olympic Games”. Russian athletes participated in the Tokyo Games in 2021, under the banner of their Olympic committee “ROC” and not from their country, a sanction following the revelation of a state doping policy in Russia, notably during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

The World with AFP

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