"There are things more important than Olympics": Ukraine’s NOC President on boycotting 2024 Games
The President of the NOC of Ukraine, Vadym Gutzeit said that many Ukrainian athletes support the boycott of the 2024 Olympics if Russians and Belarusians are to compete
Gutzeit told about this in an interview with Ukrinform.
According to him, Olympic fencing champion Olha Kharlan said that she has no idea how one can compete with Russian athletes under the current conditions.
"The issue is very serious. I spoke with Olha Kharlan, who is preparing for the competition, training a lot. She does not understand how to compete in the same games as Russian athletes. Her parents are in Mykolaiv, this worries her very much," Gutzeit said.
He added that the head coach of the Ukrainian national team, Svitlana Saidova, said that her team would boycott the Games if representatives of the aggressor countries were allowed to compete.
“The training base in Kharkiv, where they were preparing for the competition, has been destroyed, so she knows what she's talking about. Her girls are European and world champions, Olympic medalists, but they all understand that there are things more important than the Olympic Games. This is the position of true Ukrainians. The time will come when everyone will have to decide what’s most important for them," Gutzeit is convinced.
After the full-scale invasion, the International Olympic Committee banned athletes from Russia and Belarus from participating in international competitions. However, IOC President Thomas Bach in January 2023 advocated their participation in the 2024 Olympics in Paris under a neutral flag. Russians and Belarusians were admitted to the Asian Games, where they will be able to obtain Olympic licenses.