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‘Russia’s reaction to Games parade ban grotesque’

French Minister of Education, Sports, and Olympic Games, Amelie Oudea-Castera speaks to the press as she visits the 2024 Olympic Villlage in Saint-Denis, north of Paris on January 15, 2024. — AFP
French Minister of Education, Sports, and Olympic Games, Amelie Oudea-Castera speaks to the press as she visits the 2024 Olympic Villlage in Saint-Denis, north of Paris on January 15, 2024. — AFP

PARIS: Russia’s response to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to ban its athletes from the Paris Games’ opening ceremony parade is “grotesque”, French Sports Minister Amelie Oudea Castera said on Thursday.

The IOC announced on Tuesday a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes taking part as neutral competitors in this year’s Olympics from the opening ceremony parade due to the war in Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday said the IOC decision was “the destruction of the idea of Olympism” and an infringement on the athletes’ interests. “The words that have been used are shocking and grotesque,” Oudea Castera told reporters.

“I think both the IOC and the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) have been both clear and consistent in the decisions they make, to ensure that Russia does not parade in an opening ceremony.

“This is perfectly consistent with the neutrality regime that has been laid down, which allows not Russia as a state or as a nation, but neutral individual athletes to participate in these Games provided that they abide by a certain number of criteria.

“As (Paris 2024 chief) Tony Estanguet had the opportunity to say, this does not mean that neutral individual athletes will not be able to sit at the Trocadero (esplanade) when they are mixed completely independently with the other athletes,” Oudea Castera added.

“What we want is that there is not a Russian delegation parading.” A decision on whether Russian and Belarusian athletes can take part in the closing ceremony has yet to be made.


dwnews

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