Russia and Belarus will participate as neutrals at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games despite Ukraine invasion

Russian and Belarusian paralympic athletes will be allowed to compete at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, but as neutrals.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) are the latest high-profile sports governing body to sanction the two nations after Russia invaded Ukraine last week.

The IPC said in a statement on Wednesday morning: “The IPC board expressed its concerns and sympathies for Ukrainian athletes and citizens alike, and shared its delight that the full delegation of the Ukrainian paralympic team arrived safely in Beijing earlier today.

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“The board was also united in its condemnation of the governments of Russia and Belarus for breaching the UN resolution in the week leading up to the opening of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. The board was also in agreement that the breach of the truce could not go unpunished.

“In deciding what action to take, the board was guided by the IPC’s core principles, which include a commitment to political neutrality and impartiality, and an unwavering belief in the transformative power of sport.”

The IPC have set out the following conditions:

  • All their athletes/support personnel will participate in an individual capacity as neutral athletes/support personnel
  • They will compete under the Paralympic flag and the Paralympic anthem
  • They will not be included in the medals table
  • The RPC delegation must cover the RPC symbol on their uniforms in all official ceremonies and sporting competitions
  • The Belarus delegation must cover the Belarus flags on their uniforms in all official ceremonies and sporting competitions

IPC President Andrew Parsons said: “What we have decided upon is the harshest possible punishment we can hand down within our constitution and the current IPC rules.

“Post-Beijing 2022, we will also take measures with our 206 member organisations to determine whether any breaches of the Olympic truce for future Paralympic Games could lead to the possible suspension or termination of an NPC.

“Our members will also be invited to decide whether we suspend or terminate the membership of NPC Russia or NPC Belarus.”

ParalympicsGB say they are “disappointed” with the decision made by the IPC.

“We are disappointed by the International Paralympic Committee’s decision today.

“We, like many participating Paralympic nations, already stated that given the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine we cannot see how the participation of Russia or Belarus in the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games is compatible with the objectives of the Paralympic movement.

“We’ll be consulting further and reflecting on the implications for ParalympicsGB before making further comment.”

The international union that governs skating has banned athletes from Russia and Belarus from its competitions across figure skating and speed skating. In tennis, Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to compete at the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup. Individual players are allowed to compete but with no country affiliation.In football, FIFA and UEFA have banned Russia from competing in their competitions.

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