The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on Thursday announced its decision to bar Russian and Belarusian athletes from taking part in the 2022 Bejing Paralympic Winter Games. This comes a day after the IPC allowed Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part in the Winter Paralympics under a neutral flag. The IPC said in its statement that it was forced to reconsider its decision after a number of members threatened to boycott the games of the committee did not bar Russian and Belarusian athletes from the marquee event.
“The IPC is a membership-based organisation, and we are receptive to the views of our member organisations. When our members elected the Board in December 2021 it was to maintain and uphold the principles, values, and rules of the Paralympic Movement. As Board members that is a responsibility and duty we take extremely seriously,” IPC President Andrew Parsons said in a statement.
“In taking our decision yesterday we were looking at the long-term health and survival of the Paralympic Movement. We are fiercely proud of the principles and values that have made the Movement what it is today. However, what is clear is that the rapidly escalating situation has now put us in a unique and impossible position so close to the start of the Games. Yesterday we said we would continue to listen, and that is what we are doing,” Parsons added.
“In the last 12 hours, an overwhelming number of members have been in touch with us and been very open, for which I am grateful. They have told us that if we do not reconsider our decision, it is now likely to have grave consequences for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. Multiple NPCs, some of which have been contacted by their governments, teams and athletes, are threatening not to compete,” Parsons said.
83 athletes impacted
As a result of the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Paralympic Games, a total of 83 players will be impacted. The IPC has urged the athletes to leave Beijing because if they remain in the city then other members will likely withdraw from the event. Earlier, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had urged international sporting bodies to ban Russia and Belarus from all sporting events across the world.
How Ukraine conflict has impacted Russia’s sporting fraternity?
The Russian sporting fraternity has been facing the heat ever since Vladimir Putin announced his decision to wage war on Ukraine. The UEFA and FIFA have already banned the Russian national team from taking part in any competition across the world, including the upcoming World Cup in Qatar. Meanwhile, Formula One has cancelled the Russian Grand Prix in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. International judo and tennis federations are also amongst the sporting bodies that have taken action against Russia in the past few days.
Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine last Thursday. Putin announced in a pre-dawn address that the Russian military has begun a military offensive in Ukraine through the land, air, and sea. On Day 1 of the attack, Russia mostly targetted major military assets across Ukraine to hand a major blow to the Ukrainian military and the establishment. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky imposed martial law in the country an urged citizens to pick up arms to fight the invading troops.