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Allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the Winter Paralympics under a neutral flag

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Beijing (AFP) – Russian and Belarusian athletes will be allowed to participate in the Winter Paralympics in the Chinese capital, Beijing, which begins on Friday, the International Paralympic Committee announced Wednesday, after questions about their fate since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week.

The International Olympic Committee had urged the world federations to exclude the Russian and Belarusian athletes from their competitions. It added that if it was not possible for “regulatory or legal reasons to prevent Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing, sports officials should do everything in their power” to prevent athletes from both countries from participating under their country’s flag.

After its meeting on Wednesday, the Paralympic Committee said in a statement that the athletes will participate “in their capacity as neutrals and under the Paralympic flag and will not be included in the medal table.”

On Tuesday, the Ukrainian Paralympic Federation confirmed the participation of its athletes in the tournament, which will continue until March 13, despite the difficulties associated with the Russian invasion of their country, with 29 athletes, including nine mentors, represented.

The world federations were divided over the issue of dealing with Russian athletes, teams and teams, while the International and European Football Associations decided to exclude its team from the 2022 World Cup and not allow its teams and clubs to participate in any tournament, the professional and professional tennis associations decided to allow them to participate, but under a neutral flag. Russia has also been stripped of its sports championships on its soil, most notably in tennis, the World Volleyball Championship and the Russian Grand Prix in Formula One.

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