Russia and Belarus athletes to compete as ‘neutral’ Paralympics

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Athletes from Russia and Belarus will be allowed to compete as neutrals at the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing following the invasion of Ukraine.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) says the two countries “will compete under the Paralympic flag and not be included in the medal table”.

The opening ceremony is on Friday, with the competition starting on Saturday.

IPC president Andrew Parsons said the measures were the “harshest possible punishment” under its constitution.

“The IPC and wider Paralympic movement is greatly concerned by the gross violation of the Olympic Truce by the Russian and Belarussian governments in the days prior to the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games,” Parsons said.

“The IPC Governing Board is united in its condemnation of these actions and was in agreement that they cannot go unnoticed or unaddressed.

“In deciding what actions the IPC should take, it was fundamental that we worked within the framework of our new constitution to remain politically neutral.

“Such neutrality is firmly anchored in the genuine belief that sport holds the transformative power to overcome our shortcomings, and summon from within us the best of our humanity, especially in the darkest of moments.”

In all, 71 competitors from Russia and 12 from Belarus – plus guides for both nations – will now be classed as neutral athletes at the Games. (BBC Sport)

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