The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has decided to allow Russian and Belarusian para-athletes to compete at the Paris 2024 Games in an individual and neutral capacity, rather than fully suspending their national Paralympic committees.
Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak strongly criticized the decision to allow Russians to compete in the Paralympic Games. In a post on social media, Podolyak stated that this decision only serves to prolong the ongoing war.
On Friday, the International Paralympic Committee announced that it has “partially suspended” the national committees of both countries due to violations of their constitutional membership responsibilities.
According to the ruling, athletes will be required to compete without representing their nation or displaying any national symbols under a neutral flag. Furthermore, national committees will not be permitted to host any sporting events, as stated by the IPC.
The penalties were issued two weeks prior to the International Olympic Committee’s meeting in Mumbai, where they will review the participation of Russia and Belarus in the Paris Olympics.
President of France, Emmanuel Macron, has stated that it is not acceptable for the Russian flag to be present at the Paris Games. He emphasized that Russia, as a nation, should not participate due to their involvement in war crimes and deportation of children.
Macron stated that the Olympic community must determine the appropriate status for Russian athletes who have dedicated their lives to training and may also suffer from the actions of their government.
At the General Assembly in Manama, Bahrain, the IPC members voted 74-65 (with 13 abstentions) against keeping the ban in place.
Andrew Parsons, the president of the IPC, stated that now that the decision is made, the emphasis leading up to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games should be on sport and the achievements of para-athletes.