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World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has dug in his heels regarding Russian and Belarusian athletes competing in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. In the sport of athletics, they will not be present.

No athletics participants from Russia

“You may well see neutral athletes from Russia and Belarus in Paris, but they just won’t be from athletics,” said Coe, who was speaking at the two-day World Athletics Council meeting that took place in Monaco. “The position our sport took, and has consistently taken, on this is unchanged.”

The International Olympic Committee decided that athletes who qualify in individual sports will be able to compete as neutral athletes in the Paris Games. This means no outward support of the war, no flag, no anthems. Russian and Belarusian teams remain banned.

Russian and Belarusian athletes who qualify will be able to participate in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, the IOC said on Friday.

The athletes will only be allowed to participate in the event as neutrals.

“The Executive Board (EB) of the IOC has decided that Individual Neutral Athletes (AINs) who have qualified through the existing qualification systems of the International Federations (IFs) on the field of play will be declared eligible to compete at the Olympic Games Paris 2024,” the IOC’s statement read.

Russia is not happy

Russia’s Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin called the conditions “discriminatory.”

“They are damaging the Olympic Games themselves, and not Russian sports. The approach is absolutely unacceptable,” he said. 

If the decision is not damaging to Russian sports, then how is it unacceptable to Matytsin?

Meanwhile, IOC President Thomas Bach, said he understood the call but added it contradicted the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the Olympic Charter.

“This puts us in a dilemma. If we set a precedent, it will destroy Olympic sport. We’re talking about international competitions, which can then become a political pawn,” Bach said.

Bombing a neighbouring country is not against the UN Declaration of Human Rights, but banning a country from doing so is? And Bach wants the politics out of sport. Bach is deflecting as these are weaponized words the root issue is about Russia’s attack on Ukraine being illegal and inhumane. Same with the Israeli and Palestinian conflict.

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