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Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Ukrainian athletes ‘mustn’t compete in Olympic qualifiers alongside Russians’, says minister

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Ukrainian wrestler Zhan Beleniuk celebrates winning gold at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo
Wrestler Zhan Beleniuk gained Ukraine’s solely gold medal of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

Ukrainian athletes shouldn’t be allowed to compete in qualifying occasions for the 2024 Paris Olympics if Russians are participating, says authorities minister Oleh Nemchinov.

The choice was made after a proposal by sports activities minister Vadym Guttsait.

Participation may see federations sanctioned and lose “nationwide standing”.

“At a gathering of the federal government, a protocol determination was made on the proposal of colleague Guttsait that we participate in qualifying competitions solely the place there aren’t any Russians,” Nemchinov stated.

“Accordingly, participation exterior these standards could also be grounds for depriving federations of their nationwide standing.”

Two-time Olympian within the skeleton Vladyslav Heraskevych informed BBC Sport he believes the ban extends to all occasions the place Russian athletes are competing and never simply Olympics qualifiers.

“Sadly we didn’t get this info earlier. We additionally came upon from nationwide TV,” Heraskevych stated.

“It will likely be actually attention-grabbing to look into the main points as a result of we do not know if it’s only for qualifying competitions or all competitions. As I perceive from the assertion it’s about all competitions the place Russians can compete. I wish to see extra particulars.”

Heraskevych stated the choice “is mindless for Ukraine”.

“I’m personally not supporting it in any respect,” he stated. “It’s a boycott and a giant collision.

“We’re simply giving this worldwide stage to Russian athletes and we’re giving them a possibility to push their narrative into competitions and a possibility to make relationships higher with the entire world and present an image of them being united with the world.

“We’re getting sanctions from ourselves. I did not admire the time once they introduced it and the way they did it publicly. Now is an effective time for fundamental and constructive dialogue.

“It ought to be a call for every athlete. You should not be pressured.”

Guttsait is president of Ukraine’s Olympic committee.

The IOC referred to as on federations to exclude athletes from Russia and key ally Belarus following Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

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Their new suggestion solely extends to particular person athletes, not groups, and it’s but to decide on whether or not Russians and Belarusians can compete on the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Ukraine has threatened to boycott the Paris Video games if a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes isn’t upheld.

Nevertheless, the IOC has stated it is going to “discover a pathway” to permit athletes from these nations to take part on the Video games.

IOC president Thomas Bach claimed on Tuesday the inclusion of Russian and Belarusians athletes in worldwide competitors has already been proven to work, however that has been disputed by a number of athletes against their readmission.

Bach recognized Ukrainian tennis participant Marta Kostyuk’s win in opposition to Russian Varvara Gracheva within the ATX Open last this month, during which the Ukrainian refused to shake her opponent’s hand after profitable her first WTA title, for instance.

“We’ve got a rating system in our sport. If I do not take part I’ll lose my rating and my profession will likely be over,” stated Kostyuk, who additionally refused to shake the hand of Belarusian Victoria Azarenka on the US Open in September.

“Loads has been stated and I wished to say from myself, we’ve not been doing it publicly, however for the final 12 months we’ve been combating to exclude Russians and Belarusians from our sport.

“Sadly we aren’t impartial gamers. We’re working for the WTA and ATP, and we shouldn’t have numerous energy to make adjustments.”

Fellow tennis participant Lesia Tsurenko stated dealing with Russians is an “moral battle”.

“It affected me in order that I had type of panic assaults,” Tsurenko stated.

Heraskevych informed BBC Sport that the choice “confirmed the true colors” of the IOC, including: “They need to take into consideration Ukrainian athletes first after which take into consideration Russian and Belarusian athletes who’re performing in opposition to struggle.

“The IOC tried to hurry this determination and promote it as one thing good.”

Nemchinov added: “I need to inform our fellow athletes who’re fearful that as a result of IOC measures and the admission of Russians or Belarusians to competitions, and accordingly Ukrainians will be unable to take part, that their careers will likely be damaged.

“However your life and that of your kids will stay.”

The UK is amongst 36 nations to have pledged assist for an ongoing ban.

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