IOC Vice-President Estimates Few Russian Neutral Athletes at Paris Games

Senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice-President, John Coates, expressed uncertainty about the number of Russian athletes competing as neutrals at the Paris Games. Reports suggest the count could be as low as 40, a consequence of sanctions imposed due to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, with Belarus as a staging post.

Only select Russian and Belarusian athletes are permitted to compete under stringent conditions. Coates highlighted the contentious nature of including neutral athletes, acknowledging concerns from Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. Neutral athletes will participate solely in individual sports without national symbols, and those affiliated with the war in Ukraine or the Russian and Belarusian military are ineligible.

Despite Moscow’s objections, the Russian Olympic chief confirmed participation, following previous doping sanctions. While some sports enforce blanket bans, others, like World Swimming and the International Tennis Federation, allow participation under IOC guidelines. The Paris Olympics are scheduled from July 26th to August 11th, 2024.

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