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People of sport react to the IOC decision welcoming Russia and Belarus back at the Olympics

10.12.2023 18:00
On Friday, the International Olympic Committee announced that it would allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to take part in next year's Olympic Games in Paris.
IOC President Thomas Bach

The decision was met with strong reactions by numerous athletes, officials, journalists, experts and fans around the World - Poland included.

So far, Poland has been one of the leading voices opposing such a scenario. Earlier this year the country's Sports & Tourism Minister, Karol Bortniczuk, said that although boycotting the games is not the immediate step Poland will take - it might be considered if the IOC can't be reasoned with.

Talking to Interia.pl on Friday, Polish four-time Olympic racewalking champion, Robert Korzeniowski, presented a different attitude. "We have to accept the conditions as they are and not think about any boycotts. We have to accept the decision of the IOC - of course without actively supporting the participation of the Russians" - he said.

Olympic participation will be possible for Russian and Belarussian athletes under numerous conditions. They will not be able to represent their countries, but start as "neutrals" instead - without national flag, national colours or anthem. They will also be obliged to sign a document in which they distance themselves from Vladimir Putin's war policy. IOC's consent does not apply to team sports too.

President of the Polish Wrestling Association, Andrzej Supron, who won a silver medal at the 1980 Games, pointed out that Russian and Belarussian medalists "will be feted as heroes, who won despite being discriminated against by the international sports community" - speaking for Poland's PAP press agency on Friday. "Their compatriots will feel sorry for them because they could not present national symbols and could not listen to the national anthem" - he continued.

The XXXIII Summer Olympic Games will be held in Paris, France from July 26 to August 11, 2024.


Source: Interia.pl, SportoweFakty.wp.pl, Onet.pl, Nowiny24.pl