‘Continued solidarity’: Olympic Summit backs Russian athletes at Paris 2024

Russian and Belarusian athletes have moved closer to being allowed to compete as neutrals at next year’s Paris Games, after an endorsement at an Olympic Summit.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a statement that the international Olympic summer sports federations, the continental associations of national Olympic committees, and the IOC athletes commission backed such a decision at the meeting at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne.

Russian and Belarusian athletes were banned from major sports events in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

But the IOC recommended earlier this year that they should be readmitted, as neutral athletes, only in individual sports and only if they have no association with their military and security services.

This has happened in several sports, and Tuesday’s statement said that summer sports federations now want a quick final decision from the IOC because Olympic qualifiers are taking place.

Russia has been banned from the 2020 Olympics and a host of other events. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

The IOC said it its strict eligibility conditions remain in place, as does the suspension of Russia’s Olympic Committee.

“The Summit was informed that, despite the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), the IOC did not change its recommendations concerning the participation of Individual Neutral Athletes (AIN) under these strict conditions.

“It was emphasised that such protection of the rights of individual athletes to participate in competitions despite the suspension of their National Olympic Committee (NOC) is a well-established practice, respecting human rights, and has been implemented across a number of suspended NOCs during past Olympic Games.

“The ROC had to be suspended because of its unilateral decision to include as its members the regional sports organisations under the authority of the NOC of Ukraine, which is a breach of the Olympic Charter because it violates the territorial integrity of the NOC of Ukraine.

The IOC added: “The participants reaffirmed the continued solidarity with and support for the Ukrainian athletes and the Ukrainian Olympic Community by the entire Olympic Movement.”

Russian and Belarusian athletes have already been allowed by the International Paralympic Committee to compete as neutrals in Paris at the Paralympics, which follow the Olympics.

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