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Poland discusses creation of coalition to boycott 2024 Olympics over Russian participation

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 29, 2023 4:47 PM 2 min read
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Poland is considering creating a wider coalition of countries to block the 2024 Olympics in Paris due to a decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not to exclude Russians and Belarusian athletes from the international sporting event.

The comments were made on March 29 by the head of the presidential Bureau of International Policy, Marcin Pszydach, on Polish television.

"Such a decision should be made in a wider coalition of countries, and only then, if it is possible to go ahead with a broad front, it will be possible to talk about tough decisions and tough recommendations," Pszydach said.

Psydach noted that the presence of Russians under a national or neutral flag at international competitions could be used as publicity by Putin or Lukashenko. Therefore, the issue of admitting athletes from Russia and Belarus to international competitions should be approached "as critically as possible."

"What the IOC is now proposing, diplomatically speaking, is very disappointing. Each of us understands that Russian aggression is connected to this," Pszydach added.

On March 28, the IOC recommended allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part in international sporting events, while still banning anyone who actively supports Russia’s war against Ukraine. According to the body, a final decision has not yet been made, however.

“The IOC will take this decision at the appropriate time, at its full discretion, and without being bound by the results of previous Olympic qualification competitions,” the press release read.

Ukraine has criticized the decision to “clear the path” for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the Olympic Games.

Over 30 countries so far have called on the IOC to continue its ban on Russia and Belarus competing in international sporting events, including the 2024 Olympic Games.

"We will do everything possible to ensure that sport remains free from Russian influence,"  Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki said on his social media.

Ukraine’s sports minister: As Russia kills our athletes, it’s not the time to allow Russians back to international sports
Editor’s Note: This interview was recorded before the International Olympics Committee’s announcement on allowing some Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part in Olympic qualification tournaments. Following the executive board meeting on March 28, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) rec…
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