Latvia won’t participate in Olympics alongside athletes from Russia and Belarus

31 January, 11:40 PM
The IOC does not rule out the participation of Russians and Belarusians in the 2024 Olympic Games under a

The IOC does not rule out the participation of Russians and Belarusians in the 2024 Olympic Games under a "neutral flag" (Photo:REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo)

Latvia will not participate in the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics if athletes from Russia and Belarus are also present, President of the Latvian Olympic Committee, Zorzs Tikmers, told Latvian TV broadcaster LTV on Jan. 31.

“Latvia's position is that if the games were held now, with Russian and Belarusian athletes participating in them, I don’t think that the Latvian national team would go to these games,” said Tikmers.

“We hope that the war will end and Ukraine will win. Then it will be a completely new situation and new rules of the game. Of course, in that case, Latvian athletes will also be able to participate in the Olympic Games.”

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The Latvian Olympic Committee suggested the country’s athletic organizations should call on international sports federations to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from qualifying for the Olympic Games, Latvian news outlet Delfi reported.

On Jan. 27, the Minister of Sports and Tourism of Poland, Kamil Bortniczuk, said that the country could issue an ultimatum to the leadership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) if it allows athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete.

Earlier, IOC stated the body was prepared to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete under certain conditions, such as using a neutral flag.

On Jan. 27, IOC President Thomas Bach said that “Individual athletes shouldn’t be discriminated against by exclusion, even if countries are in a state of conflict.”

“Eliminating athletes based on their passport doesn’t correspond to the values and mission of the Olympic Charter,” Bach added.

Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine and the President of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Ukraine, Vadym Gutzeit, didn’t rule out a possibility that Ukraine would skip the 2024 Olympics if Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to participate.

Responding to Bach’s statement, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy invited him to visit Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, which is being utterly destroyed by Russian forces, “so that he could see with his own eyes that neutrality doesn’t exist.”

He added that Ukraine is starting a campaign to “clean up” international sports organizations from “hypocrisy and attempts to 'pull in' representatives of a terrorist state into international sports.”

During a recent conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, Zelenskyy stressed that Russian athletes have “no place” at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

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