Africa joins Asia in giving Russia the go-ahead for the Paris Olympics

Following in the footsteps of their Asian counterparts, Africa’s National Olympic Committees approved Russian and Belarusian athletes’ participation in the 2024 Paris Olympics on Saturday.

Since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February, most Olympic sports have been excluded from Russia and its ally Belarus.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), on the other hand, stated in January that it was looking for a “pathway” for Russians to participate in the Games.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) offered athletes from both nations the opportunity to participate in the Asian Games this year following that announcement.

That was a significant move because it allowed them to compete in Paris with qualifying marks from competition in Asia.

Africa has now adopted this method.

At their meeting in Nouakchott, Mauritania, the executive committee of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) unanimously approved the motion to allow Russians and Belarusians to compete under a neutral flag.

In a statement, the ANOCA stated, “The members came out unanimously in favor of the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in all international competitions.”

It stated that the Algerian Mustapha Berraf, who is the president of ANOCA, had once more stated that the organization “aligns itself with the position of the International Olympic Committee and its President Dr. Thomas Bach.”

The statement went on to say: As a result, it will be necessary to permit Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in complete neutrality.

 IOC stated

That “no athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport” was the basis for its decision.

However, Ukraine’s sports minister Vadym Goutzeit called for a boycott if they are permitted to compete, describing their position as “unacceptable.”

The move was also questioned by a lot of western nations.

Last month, Germany’s National Olympic Committee made the announcement that “the right time to allow athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport to compete in international competitions again” was not the right time.

More than 30 nations, including Canada, France, Great Britain, Poland, Sweden, and the United States, wrote in a letter in February that they were concerned about the athletes’ potential to remain neutral, particularly in light of the “strong links and affiliations” that exist between Russian athletes and the Russian military.

The letter sought “clarifications” from the IOC regarding the neutrality requirement for Olympic athletes from Belarus and Russia.

The IOC responded that the letter did not take into account the human rights of athletes from Belarus and Russia.

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