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Ukraine’s Ban on Competing With Russian Athletes ‘A Step Too Far’ — IOC Official

 / Go to the mediabankOlympic Park in Pyeongchang / Go to the mediabankInternationalIndiaAfricaMOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier this month, the Ukrainian Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine banned Ukrainian athletes from participating in competitions with Russian and Belarusian athletes. Ukraine has gone too far by barring its own athletes from competing alongside their Russian and Belarusian counterparts, Director of Olympic Solidarity and National Olympic Committees Relations at International Olympic Committee (IOC) James Macleod said, adding that governments should not impact their athletes’ access to international tournaments.WorldUkraine to Ban Athletes From Participating in Competitions With Russians31 March, 01:05 GMT»They [Ukraine] have gone so far as to prohibit their own athletes from competing in events in which there could be neutral athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport … That obviously for us is a step too far because athletes must be at the center of all of our deliberations and we don’t believe that Governments’ decisions whether it is the Ukrainian Government or the Russian Government or any Government should have an impact on athletes ability to access international competitions or funding,» Macleod was quoted as saying by the Inside the Games portal. The official also dubbed this situation «unfortunate» and expressed his confidence that the IOC Executive Board would have to debate again on what should happen in this respect. On March 26, the IOC issued a recommendation for international sports federations to allow Russian athletes compete in neutral status, provided that they do not support Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine and are not contracted to the Russian military or national security agencies. Teams under Russian or Belarusian flags will not be allowed. Several international sports federations, including World Taekwondo and the United World Wrestling (UWW), greenlighted neutral Russian athletes, while others flagged plans to follow suit.

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