Russia and Belarus banned from Beijing paralympic games
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) banned athletes from both Russia and Belarus on Wednesday (2 March), one day before the Beijing Paralympic games were due to start. This was because of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and Belarus’ co-operation in the movement.
“Athlete welfare is and always will be a key concern for us,” IPC President Andrew Parsons said. “As a result of today’s decision 83 Para athletes are directly impacted by this decision. However, if RPC and NPC Belarus remain here in Beijing then nations will likely withdraw. We will likely not have a viable Games. If this were to happen, the impact would be far wider reaching. I hope and pray that we can get back to a situation when the talk and focus is fully on the power of sport to transform the lives of persons with disabilities, and the best of humanity.”
Multiple National Paralympic Committees contacted the IPC about the situation in Ukraine and on behalf of their governments and members, threatened not to compete in the Beijing games, Parsons said in a press release. Parsons also cited an “untenable” situation in the athlete’s village, where athletes are living during the games as a safety concern.
Parsons addressed the 83 para athletes who are affected by the decision and called them “victims” of their government’s actions.
The IPC is not the only international body to take action against Russia and Belarus. The International Ice Hockey Foundation also suspended both Russian and Belarusian teams and clubs from participation at every age level. FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, also suspended Russian teams and clubs from all competitions, including the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
Outside of the sports world, Russia’s right to representation in the Council of Europe was suspended.
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