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Ukraine steps up effort to ban Russian athletes from 2024 Olympics

29.01.2023 10:30
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has stepped up his efforts to ban Russian athletes from next year's Olympic Games, saying they would seek to justify Moscow's war against his country if allowed to take part.
Volodymyr Zelensky.
Volodymyr Zelensky.Photo: President of Ukraine from Україна, PDM-owner, via Wikimedia Commons

"If Russian athletes appear at international competitions, it is only a matter of time before they start justifying Russia's aggression and using the symbols of terror," Zelensky said in a video address late on Saturday, as quoted by Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform.

He added that he was pressing ahead with "our honesty marathon" to "bring international sports agencies back to the true Olympic principle."

He announced that he had "addressed a letter to the presidents of leading international sports federations," asking them to oppose attempts to open up sports to Russian propaganda.

"The call is simple and fair: to decide on the decision of the International Olympic Committee, which, unfortunately, wants to open up sports to the propaganda influence of the terrorist state," Zelensky said.

Earlier on Saturday, Zelensky's top aide Mykhailo Podolyak accused the IOC of promoting what he called "Russian anti-human policy," saying in a Twitter post that Russian athletes would be "ambassadors of death" if allowed to compete.

Zelensky said in a message on Friday that Ukraine was "starting a marathon of honesty, which will be aimed at clearing the leadership of international Olympic structures of hypocrisy and any attempts to bring representatives of the terrorist state into world sports."

The IOC said on Wednesday that the Olympic Council of Asia had offered Russian and Belarusian athletes the chance to compete in this year's Asian Games, giving them a qualification pathway for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, the Reuters news agency reported.

Russia, Belarus should be banned from 2024 Olympics: Polish sports minister

Poland's Sports Minister Kamil Bortniczuk said on Friday that Russia and its ally Belarus should not be allowed to take part in next year's Olympics.

He added that if Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to compete in the Paris Games, Poland could build an international coalition to boycott the event.

Sunday is day 340 of Russia’s war against Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters, ukrinform.net