Russian and Belarusian athletes who have qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympics will be allowed to participate as neutrals, the International Olympic Committee has confirmed.
The conditions of their inclusion include competing without flags, emblems or anthems of their country.
Athletes from those nations were banned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Letting individuals take part was about “respecting human rights” the IOC said.
Ukraine had threatened to boycott the Games if the ban was not upheld but Ukraine’s sports minister Vadym Huttsait told Reuters in July it could drop that threat if Russian and Belarusian athletes were made to compete under a neutral flag.
Paris 2024 organisers said they were “taking note” of the IOC’s decision and reiterated that qualification for the Games “falls under the responsibility of the IOC and the International Federations”.
“Paris 2024’s responsibility is to host athletes who have qualified for the Games under the best possible conditions, regardless of their nationality,” organisers said.
The IOC’s decision comes after Olympic sports federations asked for Russian and Belarusian athletes to be allowed to compete as neutrals in Paris earlier this week.
“The executive board of the IOC has decided that individual neutral athletes (AINs) who have qualified through the existing qualification systems of the International Federations on the field of play will be declared eligible to compete at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 in accordance with the conditions outlined,” the Olympic body said on Friday.
“AINs are athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport. The strict eligibility conditions based on the recommendations issued by the IOC executive board on 28 March 2023 for international federations and international sports event organisers will be applied.”
However, World Athletics said its position remains unchanged, with athletes, support personnel and officials from Russia and Belarus remaining excluded “from all World Athletics Series events”.
“We will continue to monitor the situation, but unless there is a major change in circumstances between now and the Olympic Games, this exclusion will apply to Paris 2024,” World Athletics said.
Source : BBC