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Parasport President on readmission of Russia and Belarus

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Parasport President on readmission of Russia and Belarus

Andrew Parsons, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), has commented on the possible re-admission of athletes from Russia and Belarus in parasport. (IMAGO / AFLOSPORT / IMAGO / MA SPORTS)

Andrew Parsons, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), spoke on Deutschlandfunk in the debate about the possible re-admission of athletes from Russia and Belarus to sporting events. However, the 46-year-old said he currently does not see a majority for Russia and Belarus to return to parasport.

No clear boycott moves in sight

Parsons said: “There are different views in different corners of the world. You can see that in the votes of countries, the international federations and regional organizations at our last General Assembly.”

The IPC president sees no organized movements in either direction “that get together and say: ‘If Russia and Belarus are there, we will boycott’ – or vice versa.” If nothing changes in the war situation in Ukraine, which was attacked by Russia in spring 2022, he rather assumes that the suspension will be confirmed.

In contrast to the IOC, the IPC does not make any recommendations

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) under German President Thomas Bach acted differently than the Brazilian IPC boss. The IOC Executive Board recommended that its members allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to be allowed back, provided they have no military ties and condemn aggressive warfare.

“The IOC is our most important partner. But sometimes we have different positions,” emphasized Parsons, who has been an IOC member himself since 2018. However, the Brazilian underlined that democratic decisions were also made in the IOC: “It is a recommendation, not something that you dictate.”

In para-sports, the next regular IPC General Assembly in Bahrain in September will shed some light. A decision could be made there whether to lift or maintain the suspension, also specifically for the Paris 2024 Games.

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Patchwork in qualifying competitions for Paris

With regard to Paris, however, there is a patchwork quilt: Russian and Belarusian para-athletes could qualify in some of the 22 sports, but not in others.

Because not all sports in the Paralympic program are controlled by the IPC – only athletics, swimming, weightlifting and shooting sports. There, the suspension prevents participation in qualifying competitions for the time being.

IPC President Parsons on the status of Russia and Belarus

The remaining 18 sports are managed by the various professional associations. Athletes from Russia and Belarus are still suspended from equestrian sports, but are allowed to participate in triathlon competitions under a neutral flag. However, the latter does not yet ensure participation, Parsons explained: “Of course it may be that you are athletically qualified for the games, but the IPC then decides that you are not allowed to participate.”

Parsons encourages Germany to apply for the Paralympics

The IPC President also commented on Dlf about a possible application by Germany and the capital Berlin to host the Olympic and thus also the Paralympic Games in 2036: “I think it does make a lot of sense for Germany to host the games. We talk about it with people from German sport.” Of course, the decision lies with the German population, the authorities and the National Olympic Committee.

In any case, Parsons is “absolutely certain” that Germany has the expertise for an orientation. In addition, it is also about the “vision of the organizer, what should be extracted from the Paralympic Games”. The 46-year-old gave an example: “How could hosting the Paralympic Games improve the lives of people with disabilities in Germany?” In this respect, too, Germany could benefit from the Paralympics in Germany.

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