Athletes from Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to compete at the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing. This decision was made after the situation in athlete villages had become refutable. The Winter Paralympics opening ceremony is set to take place on Friday, with the games beginning on Saturday.
“We are very firm believers that sport and politics should not mix,” Andrew Parsons, President of IPC said as PTI reports. “Ensuring the safety and security of athletes is of paramount importance to us and the situation in the athlete villages is escalating and has now become untenable.”
Governing bodies from all over the world criticized the IPC for allowing these athletes to play as neutrals. Vladyslav Heraskevych, a Ukrainian Olympic skeleton racer, said IPC’s stance was disgusting and was very sad to see. Nadine Dorries, UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, asked IPC to reconsider its decision as it might have serious repercussions. The US and British Paralympic Committees expressed their dismay.
There were a total of 83 athletes from Russia and Belarus – 71 from Russia and 12 from Belarus. The logistics and games schedule had to be changed drastically due to the removal of 83 participants. Parsons said there were a lot of talks between IPC and the members, the latter stating they will not take part in the games if Belarus and Russian athletes are allowed to.
Preserving the integrity of the games and ensuring the safety of all participants is of utmost importance and hence it was decided to ban these athletes. Ukraine’s athletes are in Beijing and are set to promote messages of peace during Friday’s opening ceremony.