May 30, 2023

Athletes criticise claim by IOC president Thomas Bach that Russian and Belarusian neutral participation ‘works’

Marta Kostyuk
Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk committed her ATX Open victory more than Russian Varvara Gracheva to her region

A host of global athletes have criticised Global Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach’s assert that Russians and Belarusians competing as neutrals in their sport “will work”.

Ukrainian tennis participant Marta Kostyuk criticised Bach for making use of her acquire more than Russian Varvara Gracheva as an case in point.

Compatriot Lesia Tsurenko stated going through Russians is an “moral conflict”.

The IOC’s recommendation only extends to particular person athletes, not teams, and it is but to make a selection on irrespective of whether Russians and Belarusians can compete at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

However, Bach’s claim on Tuesday that the inclusion of those people athletes in international competitors has presently been proven to operate was disputed by several athletes opposed to their readmission.

Bach determined Kostyuk’s ATX Open ultimate against Gracheva before this month, in which the Ukrainian refused to shake her opponent’s hand after winning her to start with WTA title, as a single this kind of case in point.

“We have a rating method in our activity. If I will not take part I will reduce my rating and my vocation will be above,” mentioned Kostyuk, who earlier refused to shake the hand of Belarusian Victoria Azarenka at the US Open.

“A lot has been explained and I preferred to say from myself, we have not been doing it publicly, but for the last yr we have been fighting to exclude Russians and Belarusians from our activity,” she extra.

“Sadly we are not unbiased players. We are functioning for the WTA and ATP, and we do not have a great deal of energy to make modifications.”

Fellow tennis participant Tsurenko mentioned she had struggled just about every time she experienced to experience a Russian participant.

“It afflicted me so that I experienced type of panic attacks,” Tsurenko claimed.

“It is an moral conflict each and every time we play from them.”

Ukraine has threatened to boycott the Paris Video games if a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes is not upheld.

The IOC called on federations to exclude athletes from Russia and Belarus subsequent Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

Even so, the organisation has mentioned it will “check out a pathway” to make it possible for athletes from people nations to participate at next year’s Games.

The United Kingdom is amid 36 nations around the world to have pledged assist for an ongoing ban.

“For all of us it is a mess,” stated German fencer Lea Krueger.

“How can a Ukrainian compete towards a Russian athlete?”

Czech Olympic ice hockey champion Dominik Hasek extra: “What Bach informed us was completely wrong.

“It will be a very long war but we will acquire. We will need to be vocal and we need to have to be supportive to each other.”