Polish President expresses disappointment Over IOC’s decision on participation of Russian and Belarussian athletes

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President Andrzej Duda of Poland has expressed strong disappointment over the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recommendation of allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in international competitions under a neutral flag.

“President Andrzej Duda is highly critical about any attempt to politicise sport and sportspersons,” Marcin Przydacz, the head of the Presidential International Politics Bureau, told a Polish public radio programme on Thursday.

The International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board has made a decision relating to the return of athletes to international competitions, however, a separate decision will be taken at a later date regarding the 2024 Olympics, President Thomas Bach has announced.

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“This change of politics by the IOC will surely be taken advantage of by Vladimir Putin,” Przydacz said, adding that sport had always played a very important role in Russia, “just as it used to in the Soviet Union.”

Poland is taking action to influence the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) stance on the issue.

“We will be building a broad coalition to exert pressure on the IOC as this is simply a bad decision,” Przydacz concluded.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has declared that athletes should not be denied the chance to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics due to their country of origin. This comes after the IOC sanctioned both Russia and Belarus for the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Two UN experts have called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to take action to prevent discrimination against athletes based on their nationality. The demand comes in the wake of a suggestion made by the experts, who urged the IOC to take steps to guarantee that athletes of all nationalities are treated equally.

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