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Belarusian and Russian athletes allowed to compete in Paralympic Games

Paralympics Beijing Russia
Posted at 10:06 AM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-02 12:09:20-05

Athletes from Belarus and Russia will be allowed to participate in the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing.

The International Paralympic Committee announced the decision on Wednesday.

The athletes will be allowed to participate as neutrals under the Paralympic flag and will not be included in the medal table.

Russian athletes must cover the Russian Paralympic Committee symbol on their uniforms during official ceremonies and competitions.

Belarusian athletes must cover the flag on their uniforms.

According to Reuters, the IPC President Andrew Parsons told reporters that athletes were not the aggressors, referring to Russia’s attacks against Ukraine.

"It's important to make that distinction... they are not soldiers and we need to treat them with respect just like the others who have earned the right to be here," Parsons said.

The decision comes with some pushback.

Athletes of Ukraine and Global Athlete Group called the decision “another blow” to Ukrainian athletes and citizens and said that the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes will be used as state propaganda by their respective countries.

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee said it was disappointed with the decision.

Britain also condemned the decision and called on the IPC to reconsider.

Countries and organizations say Russia violated Olympic Truce, which dates back to when the Olympics first began in Greece nearly 3,000 years ago.

The leaders of three Greek city-states agreed to limit their battles during the games.

The UN asked countries in late January to observe an Olympic Truce before and after the end of the Paralympic Games in Beijing.

Russia violated that truce when it began its attack on Ukraine last week.

The Paralympic Games begin on March 4.