Elina Svitolina: Ukrainian tennis star echoes calls to ban Russia and Belarus from Olympics


“The Olympics are the biggest dream and the ultimate honor for athletes. They are the biggest platform for inclusion and diversity in sports, capturing the world’s attention,” former world No. 3 Svitolina said. said.

“With this in mind we must continue to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes, sending a strong message around the world that we are united in the sanctions against Russia and Belarus and The heinous actions of their governments have consequences; their lives cannot continue. As usual and the world, neither the Russians nor the Belarusian people can be ignorant of the atrocities being committed in Ukraine.”

Russian and Belarusian athletes are currently banned from competing by several sports federations following a previous recommendation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

But last week, the IOC said Russian and Belarusian athletes could be allowed to compete as “neutral athletes”, a move that would pave the way for them to compete in Olympic qualifiers and eventually the Paris 2024 Games. can do

On Tuesday, however, the IOC said in a tweet: “Sanctions against the Russian and Belarusian states and governments are non-negotiable. They have been unanimously confirmed by the recent Olympic Summit on 9 December 2022.”

These restrictions include not inviting any government officials from Russia or Belarus to international sporting events and not organizing sporting events between the two countries.

The statement did not mention the controversial issue of “impartial athletes” and CNN has contacted the IOC for clarification.

Svitolina’s comments came two days after Wladimir Klitschko, former boxing champion and brother of Kyiv mayor Vitaliy, told IOC president Thomas Bach not to “betray the Olympic spirit” and end “this despicable war” by allowing Russian athletes to compete. appealed to be partners in

“You propose to reauthorize Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the Paris Games. I tell you, the Russians are Olympic champions in crimes against citizens,” Klitschko said in one. The video has been posted on Twitter on Monday.

“They have a gold medal in deporting children and raping women. You can’t put your Olympic symbol on these crimes because you will be an accomplice in this heinous war.”

According to Reuters, Paris 2024 organizers on Wednesday “followed the International Olympic Committee’s decision on the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Games after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged the governing body to ban them from the Games.” emphasized.”

CNN has reached out to Paris 2024 organizers for comment.

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