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Russian and Belarusian athletes to play as neutrals at Paris Olympic games

  • March 20, 2024
  • 2 min read
Russian and Belarusian athletes to play as neutrals at Paris Olympic games

The International Olympic Committee has announced that it will prevent athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in the opening ceremony. The organisers say that they are targeting countries that are “responsible for the war” in Ukraine. Athletes from those countries would be allowed to compete as “Individual Neutral Athletes” or AINs.

“AINs will not participate in the parade of delegations (teams) during the Opening Ceremony, since they are individual athletes,” according to an IOC statement. But any athletes from Russia or Belarus associated linked with “military and national security agencies will not be eligible to be entered or to compete” the IOC has stated.

Belarus has remained an ally to Moscow following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The athletes from these countries might still march in the closing ceremonies.

“The decision regarding the participation of AINs in the Closing Ceremony will be taken at a later stage, taking into consideration that it is not teams that enter the Closing Ceremony, but all athletes jointly together,” the IOC said.

The Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony will take place on Friday, 26th July.

“The sanctions against those responsible for the war, the Russian and Belarusian states and governments, remain in place for the Olympic Games Paris 2024,” the IOC said.

12 AINs with Russian nationalities and seven from Belarus have qualified for the games. As many as 36 Russian and 22 Belarusian competitors will eventually qualify for various sports according to the IOC. Celebrations are expected to be limited if they win gold medals at the games. The AIN flag will fly and its anthem will play should one of them win.

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