Espreso. Global

IOC President Bach comes up with new reason to return Russia to world sport

13 February, 2023 Monday
13:52

IOC President Thomas Bach says the suspension of Russian and Belarusian athletes from international competitions is a violation of human rights

Suspilne.Sport reported the information

According to him, the International Olympic Committee received concerns from the UN, which called the suspension of athletes from Russia and Belarus from international tournaments a violation of human rights. 

"We are discussing this. First of all, we are not talking about Paris, but about the sports competitions that will take place in 2023. We are not talking about Paris yet, more on that later. We would like to draw attention to two main issues, one of which is a serious concern that was expressed by two special experts of the UN Human Rights Council. They told us that the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes just because of a passport is a violation of human rights," Bach said. 

He added that precedents with the participation of Russians in the Australian Open tennis tournament and the victory of Belarusian athlete Arina Sobolenko, who competed under a neutral flag, prove that such performances are possible in other sports. 

"We need to understand why it is impossible for swimmers, for example, but possible for tennis players? We saw at the Australian Open when a Ukrainian player played against a neutral athlete with a Russian passport, and a Belarusian tennis player even won the tournament. So why is it not possible in swimming or gymnastics?" Bach questioned. 

The IOC President also said that he does not believe he is now on the "other side" of history. 

"History will show who has done more for peace: those who tried to keep certain lines and communicate or those who tried to isolate and divide. We had a positive experience in the Olympic movement, you can remember what it was like with North and South Korea, what we did with Israel and Palestine or in the case of Kosovo or many other conflicts. Our role is to bring people together," Bach said. 

After Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the IOC banned athletes from Russia and Belarus from participating in international competitions. However, in January 2023, IOC President Thomas Bach called for their participation in the 2024 Olympics in Paris under a neutral flag. For this purpose, Russians and Belarusians were allowed to attend the Asian Games, where they will be able to obtain Olympic licenses. 

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