Olympics: Ukraine accuses IOC of ‘double requirements’ over Russia

Ukraine sports minister Vadym Guttsait
Ukraine sports activities minister Vadym Guttsait is a former Olympic fencer who received a gold medal on the 1992 Video games in Barcelona

The Worldwide Olympic Committee has been accused of “double requirements” by Ukraine’s sports activities minister for suggesting Russian and Belarusian athletes might compete at Paris 2024.

Ukraine stays strongly against the IOC “exploring a pathway” for athletes from the banned nations to participate.

“What’s modified? Nothing has modified. At first the IOC banned them, and now they’re making an attempt to permit them to compete,” mentioned Vadym Guttsait.

“There are particular double requirements.”

The subject of sanctions in opposition to Russian and Belarusian athletes can be excessive on the agenda when the IOC’s govt board meets on Tuesday in Switzerland.

Shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine final yr, the IOC known as on sporting federations to ban athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus.

Nonetheless, final month the IOC opened up the potential for athletes from the nations collaborating underneath a impartial flag in Paris.

Guttsait mentioned that for that to occur there should be “critical standards” hooked up to validate the neutrality of any athletes allowed to compete.

“They cannot simply say ‘we’re for peace’ and that is it,” mentioned Guttsait, who can also be the top of Ukraine’s Nationwide Olympic Committee.

“If the factors are very weak, then why was Russia suspended final yr?

“The state of affairs has solely deteriorated. Extra Ukrainians are being killed and extra Ukrainian territory is being occupied. There are air-raid alerts day-after-day and our cities are being bombed and our persons are being killed.

“We don’t perceive in any respect what was causing the IOC to begin dialogue concerning the lifting of the ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes.”

Explaining its determination, the IOC mentioned the Olympics “can’t stop wars and conflicts” however the Video games might “encourage us to unravel issues by constructing bridges”.

However Guttsait mentioned it was unimaginable to separate politics and sport whereas his nation was underneath assault.

“We have now no life in Ukraine, we now have no circumstances for regular coaching and preparations for the Olympic Video games,” he added.

“On the similar time, the Russians have all of the circumstances to practise and compete domestically. They sleep at evening, and we do not.”

The IOC is encouraging sports activities to permit Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals, however it stays a choice for the person federations.

On Thursday, World Athletics mentioned it was protecting its ban in place.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe mentioned the sanction seems to be “the one peaceable solution to disrupt and disable Russia’s present intentions” and mentioned Russia’s actions over the previous yr had “solely hardened” his “resolve” on this concern.

“I want to thank Sebastian Coe, and the complete World Athletics Board for his or her assist for Ukraine, understanding and solidarity with us not solely in phrases but additionally in deeds,” mentioned Guttsait.