Paris 2024 Olympics: Russian and Belarusian athletes allowed to compete as neutrals

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 BBC reports.

The conditions of their inclusion include competing without flags, emblems or anthems of their country.

Athletes from those nations were banned after Russia waged war against Ukraine in February 2022.

Letting individuals take part was about “respecting human rights” the IOC said.

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”.

“You may well see some neutral athletes from Russia and Belarus in Paris, it just won’t be in athletics,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said on Friday.

Speaking at the World Athletics Council Meeting in Monaco, Coe added: “We have a fixed position. I think it is right that International Federations should make judgements that they feel is in the best interest of their sport. That is what our council has done.”

Ukraine had threatened to boycott the 2024 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.

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