A year before Paris Olympics, Ukraine torn over boycott threat

a-year-before-paris-olympics,-ukraine-torn-over-boycott-threat
A year before Paris Olympics, Ukraine torn over boycott threat

Ukraine’s sports minister, Vadym Huttsait, stated that Kyiv may reconsider its threatened boycott of the Paris Olympics if athletes from Russia and Belarus compete under a neutral flag instead of their national colors. While no decision has been made to soften Ukraine’s stance, Huttsait indicated that there could be a possibility of reversing the policy that currently excludes Ukrainian athletes from the summer games. In April, Ukraine implemented a ban on its national sports teams from participating in Olympic, non-Olympic, and Paralympic events that involve competitors from Russia and Belarus, regardless of the flag they compete under. Huttsait mentioned that discussions have begun with the presidents of federations, the federations themselves, and the athletes regarding the proposal for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals. The final decision has not been made yet, and the decree issued by Huttsait does not explicitly prohibit Ukrainian nationals from competing against Russian and Belarusian competitors if they participate as neutrals. Instead, it outlines procedures for withdrawing Ukrainian competitors if Russian and Belarusian athletes fail to adhere to the terms of competing as neutrals without flags, anthems, or national symbols. Zhan Beleniuk, an Olympic gold-winning wrestler and member of Ukraine’s parliament, expressed that the decree paves the way for athletes to participate in international competitions, secure Olympic qualification, and prepare for the Games in Paris. The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has resulted in significant casualties, destruction, displacement, and economic damage, has made the choice regarding Ukrainian athletes’ participation extremely difficult. Some Ukrainian athletes criticized the blanket ban on competing against Russians and Belarusians, viewing it as self-inflicted harm that deprives Kyiv of representation and hampers the careers of its sports stars. Huttsait acknowledged the challenging decision and emphasized that the original ban is still in place but subject to discussion. He highlighted the dilemma of not being able to stand alongside the Russians while simultaneously punishing Ukrainian sportsmen who aspire to compete, win, and proudly display their national flag on the podium. Huttsait’s ministry is currently in talks with Ukrainian sports federations to gauge athletes’ willingness to compete against Russian and Belarusian athletes under a neutral flag. Huttsait also revealed that he had recently engaged in discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to convey the message that Russians and Belarusians should not be allowed to compete in the Olympics while Ukrainian cities are under attack. The IOC, which condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has expressed difficulty in understanding Ukraine’s decision to prevent its athletes from participating in qualifiers for the Paris games under the current policy. The IOC aims to manage a complex reality and is expected to permit Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete under a neutral flag. However, some senior Ukrainian officials, including Andriy Yermak, head of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office, believe that Russian and Belarusian sportsmen should not be allowed to participate under neutral flags either.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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