Ukrainian athletes urge France to ban Russian, Belarusian athletes from Paris 2024

  • 10 January, 15:04

More than 200 Ukrainian athletes have urged French President Emmanuel Macron to exclude athletes born in Russia and Belarus from the 2024 Paris Olympics, even if they are not representing their country and competing as neutrals, amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In an open letter published on December 29, Ukraine’s sports ministry said that “No athlete from these countries has publicly spoken out against the killings, against the genocide of the Ukrainian people during the war.”

“In July 2024, the XXXIII Olympic Games will begin in Paris. We, Ukrainian athletes, seek your continued support in the fight to uphold Olympic principles and prevent athletes from terrorist states from participating,” the letter read. The letter is also addressed to the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, France’s Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra and other organizers of Paris 2024.

The appeal comes in response to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision last year to allow neutral athletes who meet the necessary standards or eligibility requirements to participate in the thirty-third modern Olympic Games, but compete without their country's anthem or flag. 

By contrast, under the IOC’s decision, athletes actively supporting the war, or who are contracted to their country’s military services, will not be eligible to compete. No flag, anthem, colours or any other identifications whatsoever of Russia or Belarus will be displayed at the Games, under the IOC’s decision.

Last year, International Paralympic Committee ruled that neutral athletes from Russia and Belarus were permitted to compete under a neutral flag.

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