Athletes from Russia and Belarus have been banned to attend the Paralympics on March 4. The decision was made by the International Paralympic Committee – IPC just a day before the opening time in China.
The statement was issued by the IPC on March 3.
During the press conference, IPC President Andrew Parsons revealed that he was worried about the long-term survival and development of the Paralympics, not banning Russian athletes initially.
“But in the past 12 hours, a large number of IPC members contacted me, said that they would not attend the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics, so we had to change our mind”. Parsons explained.
The sanctions affect 83 athletes from the two countries. Parsons asserted that the situation in Beijing Olympic Village was so tense that it was forced IPC to impose sanctions on Russia.
“To protect the integrity of the Paralympic Games and the safety of all participants, we have decided to refuse the participation of the athletes from Russia and Belarus. We are sorry for them. But they are the victims of the decisions of their governments,” Parsons said.
The Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation Oleg Matytsin said he opposed the IPC’s decision, calling it a “manipulation of the Olympic rules”.
“We are working to complete the legal procedures to file a lawsuit, to protect the rights of our athletes, against discrimination based on ethnicity and the use of sports as a tool to political pressure,” Matytsin said.
“The IPC’s decision to ban Russian athletes violates the rights of athletes, manipulates the Olympic charter and human values to pursue political purposes.”