Russia Rules Out Paris Olympic Games Boycott | Other Sports News

Russia’s sports minister on Wednesday said Moscow should not boycott the upcoming Paris Olympics despite the severe restrictions on its athletes over the Kremlin’s offensive in Ukraine. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) in December suspended Russia from the 2024 Games, but gave the green light for Russian athletes to compete as neutrals as long as they do not actively support the Ukraine campaign. “We should not turn away, close ourselves off, boycott this movement,” Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said according to the state-run TASS news agency.

“We should as much as possible keep the possibility of dialogue and take part in competitions,” he added.

Matytsin is not holding his breath for a softening in the IOC’s stance when its executive commission meets next week.

“We will see what the final decision of the International Olympic Committee will be (…) but so far the position is that there will be no new recommendations and regulations,” he ventured.

The IOC has always presented its decision as final, but still has to rule on the presence of Russian or Belarussian athletes at the opening ceremony.

They have already been banned from attending the opening ceremony of the Paralympics on August 28.

Until Matytsin’s intervention it had been unclear whether Russia would recommend its athletes to go to Paris anyway.

Russia had slammed the IOC suspension for the July 26-August 11 Olympics but failed in an appeal to get it overturned last month at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Matytsin said Moscow could not give “general recommendations” to all of its athletes because “each international federation has different approaches”.

“Some completely ban taking part (like World Athletics), some leave the right to take part in a neutral status,” he said.

He said despite the ban, the Olympic Games remains important to the country.

“For athletes and our society it is very important to keep the dialogue and give our guys a possibility in a just fight to show what a great sporting country we are,” he said.

‘To go or not to go?’

Russia has previously attacked the restrictions as humiliation” and “discrimination” but stopped short of telling the country’s sportsmen if they should go to Paris.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has held off giving his advice on their participation this summer.

“To go or not to go?… The conditions must be closely analysed,” Putin said in December when only eight Russians and three Belarussian athletes met the IOC’s criteria.

In December, the IOC announced unprecedented restrictions on athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus hoping to compete in Paris.

Not only must they take part as neutrals, they must also not “actively support the war” nor be “contracted to the Russian or Belarusian military or national security agencies”.

The IOC also outlawed any display of the two countries’ flags and anthems at the 2024 Games.

And no Russian or Belarusian government or state officials are being invited to the quadrennial sporting feast.

Even before Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine with Belarus’s support in February, 2022, Russia’s participation in the Olympic movement was limited due to a series of state-sponsored doping scandals, denied by the Kremlin.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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