Boot risk: Russians and Belarusians leave Paralympics

The Winter Paralympics organizers reversed their course on Thursday after being threatened with withdrawals and growing animosity at the Athletes village.

Boot risk: Russians and Belarusians leave Paralympics

They expelled athletes from Russia, Belarus and Belarus.

This change came less than 24 hours after International Paralympic Committee had announced that Russians and Belarusians would be allowed to compete in the Games. However, they will only allow them to do so as neutral athletes, with national flags, colors and other symbols being removed due to the invasion of Ukraine.

The Paralympics of Beijing, which are held in conjunction with the Winter Olympics, will close on March 13.

After announcing the ban, Andrew Parsons, President of the IPC, stated that "The war has now reached these Games" and that many governments were having an influence behind the scenes on the cherished event. "We were trying protect the Games against war."

Parsons claimed that the IPC underestimated negative reactions to letting Russians or Belarusians compete -- even though they were neutral athletes. Parsons had hoped that the Athletes Village would bring harmony to the community, but he describes it now as a tinderbox.

It wasn't just the Ukrainians who were upset by the Russian and Belarusian involvement, it was everyone.

Parsons stated that there are no reports of specific acts of aggression. Parsons said, "But it was very, very volatile in the (Athletes Village).

"It was an extremely rapid escalation that we didn't think was going to occur." We didn't think entire delegations or teams within them would withdraw, boycott, or refuse to participate.

First, Latvia declared that its curlers would not play against Russians in a group game.

Craig Spence, IPC spokesperson, described the dramatic change that took place in 12 hours between athletes and administrators. He stated that the talk was now "now we're considering going home." We are not playing."

"This threatens the viability and viability of this event. Spence stated that this is a significant change. "The Village atmosphere is not pleasant."

Parsons stated that he expected legal action from the Russian Paralympic Committees and Belarusian Paralympic Committees. This is what he claimed he feared when he decided their athletes could compete. The Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Switzerland, is likely to be the place.

Parsons stated that "we believe that the Russian Paralympic Committee or the Belarussian Paralympic Committee might take legal action." "But the facts we have presented here made us realize that this was the right choice to make."

Russian Paralympic Committee deemed the decision to expel its athletes illegal and baseless.

"(Russian athletes have not done anything that could be taken to mean they are involved in current political complications," said the RPC.

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, also condemned the decision and called it a "disgrace."

Peskov stated, "The situation was monstrous." "Yesterday, they made one decision and today they made another."

Parsons stated that he sympathizes with the disappointment expressed by the 71 Russians, and 12 Belarusians who will soon be returned home. Parsons said that he didn't know when it would happen, especially with the severe COVID-19 restrictions China has in place.

Parsons stated that while no one was happy with the decision, it was the best decision to allow the Paralympic Games proceed.

The IPC joins other sports such as soccer, track, basketball and hockey that have placed blanket bans against Russians and Belarussians.

Monday's International Olympic Committee urged sports organizations to exclude Russian or Belarusian athletes at international events. However, it did not make the final decision.

The IOC has been slow in cracking down on Russia. It allowed its athletes to participate in the four Olympics after a state-sponsored doping scandal. The IOC has not yet removed Russians from its own leadership and membership positions.

Parsons also addressed directly the Russian and Belarusian Olympic athletes, stating that they are not to blame.

Parsons stated, "To Para athletes representing the impacted countries," Parsons apologized. "You are the victims of your governments actions."

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