Banned Russian Paralympic athletes to leave Beijing Olympics after not appealing
Russian athletes were to compete as neutrals at the Beijing Games before the IPC banned them Thursday. Amid the decision, Russian Paralympic athletes leave Beijing
As Day one of the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing begins on Friday, hundreds of athletes unite from all over the globe, while 71 Russian athletes prepare to head home.
For Russian and Belarusian roles in the war in Ukraine, the IPC, or International Paralympic Committee, decided to ban their athletes from participating at the Games on Thursday.
The IPC had initially allowed the athletes to participate as "neutrals," however after major backlash from several teams, the committee caved to pressure and announced the banning of the two nations.
Subsequently, the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) announced Friday that it was preparing to leave China and would not appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) following legal advice.
“The Russian Paralympic Committee and its athletes currently do not consider it possible or expedient to stay in Beijing and are planning to leave the Winter Games capital, the city of wonderful people, in the near future,” said the governing body.
Had Russian athletes competed as neutrals at these Games, it would not have been their first time. Due to doping violations, Russian athletes were banned from the 2016 Rio Paralympics, but then competed at the 2018 PyeongChang Games as neutral athletes, and as the ROC, or Russian Olympic Committee, at the Tokyo Games in 2021.
Russian athletes won 24 medals as neutrals four years ago in Pyeongchang.
Why is Belarus banned from the Beijing Paralympics?
Belarus has been a crucial staging area for the full-size invasion Russia discharged on Ukraine last week, which is the IPC decided to ban them too.
Belarus’s Olympic Committee, which had 12 athletes at the Beijing Paralympic Games, did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
And while the Games opened with calling for peace for Ukraine on Friday, China and its government have still refused to criticize Russia for its decision.