The Russians will perform at the Paralympics as “neutral athletes”.

Russians and Belarusians will act as “neutral athletes” at the Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing because of their countries’ role in the war against Ukraine, the International Paralympic Committee said on Wednesday.

Russian athletes have already had to act as an RPC, abbreviated from Russia’s Paralympic Committee, as punishment for a state-sponsored doping scandal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and subsequent cover-ups.

The IPC added additional restrictions when the Paralympic Games open on Friday, but stopped at the countdown. Belarus was sanctioned for participating in Russia’s aid in the invasion and war against Ukraine.

Both delegations will be excluded from the medal table, and the IPC has said it will not hold events in either country “as long as the current situation continues.”

“What we have decided is the most severe punishment we can take under our constitution and the current rules of the IPC,” IPC President Andrew Parsons said in a statement. “In deciding what action the IPC should take, it was fundamental that we worked within our new constitution to remain politically neutral, and within the IPC Guidelines, the rules and regulations governing the Paralympic Movement.”

Athletes from Russia and Belarus will perform under the Paralympic flag and the anthem of the Paralympic Games. The RPC delegation must cover the “RPC” symbol on the uniform at all events and ceremonies. The Belarusian delegation must cover its national flag with a uniform.

The IPC has said it is also revoking the “Paralympic Honor” awarded to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It said that the “Paralympic orders” were also withdrawn from: Dmitry Chernyshenko, president of the organizing committee of Sochi (now Deputy Prime Minister of Russia); Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia (now Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration); Oleg Syramolatov, head of the Interdepartmental Command Security Center of the Sochi Games (now Deputy Foreign Minister); Alexander Garavoy, Deputy Chief of the Interdepartmental Command Security Center (now First Deputy Interior Minister).

The International Olympic Committee on Monday pushed the sports authorities to exclude Russian athletes from international competitions, but left the final decision to individual governing bodies. The IOC has slowly dealt with Russia, allowing its athletes to participate in the last four Olympics after Sochi.

The IOC said the action was needed now to “safeguard the integrity of global sporting events and the safety of all participants”, but left it to the authorities to circumvent the exception, adding that Russians and Belarusians could act as neutral athletes or teams if expulsion was not possible. due to a short message.

The IPC move was made at a time when Russia was barred from participating in a long list of sports including skating, skiing, football, hockey, basketball, athletics and some tennis competitions. Some sports, such as swimming, did not follow the IOC’s ban on Russians, instead allowing them to act as neutral athletes.

Parsons acknowledged the possibility that some Paralympians may withdraw from competing with their Russian counterparts. He also said that options for the IPC were “limited” due to the possibility of legal challenges from Russia or elsewhere.

IOC President Thomas Bach will not attend the Paralympics and has appointed Parsons, an IOC member, to represent the body. IOC Vice President Sir Miang Ng was supposed to attend but received a positive test for COVID-19. The IOC said Ng had only mild symptoms.

According to the representatives of the Paralympic Games, 648 athletes and 49 delegations will take part in the Winter Paralympic Games. At the Winter Olympics last month, there were 2,900 athletes with 91 delegations.

According to officials, 71 Russian athletes will take part in the Paralympics, 20 of whom will join Ukraine. The entire Ukrainian delegation was expected to arrive for the opening ceremony on Friday. The Paralympics close on March 13.

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