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30 April 2024, 13:19

Lukashenko opines on neutral status for Belarusian athletes at Olympics 


KOSTYUKOVICHI DISTRICT, 30 April (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko was asked about Belarus’ participation in the Olympic Games during a meeting with residents of the town of Kostyukovichi on 30 April, BelTA has learned.

Residents of the town asked the head of state his opinion about the participation of Belarusian athletes in the Summer Olympics in a neutral status. 

"They banned us from participating in the opening ceremony and team sports. Should Belarusian athletes participate in such an ‘Olympics’, on such terms?" the president was asked. 

“It is up to the athletes to decide. If they decide to participate in the Olympics, they will feel angry and most determined. All of you understand very well that mood in sports matters a lot. If you have been qualified and decide to go there in a neutral status, then outshine all of them, show them that you are real Belarusians. For us it would be another great opportunity to show them their place from the political point of view,” the president said.

The head of state emphasized: Belarusians should not give up. He recalled that in Soviet times the whole nation was under tremendous pressure, including in sports, but the Soviet Union showed great results. “The more they put pressure on you, the more you resist,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.

The president said that he watches Russian competitions and Belarusians performing there, including biathletes, who are showing great results. “I see that biathlon is a well-developed sport in our country. The biathlon traditions in Russia are strong, world-class. When we beat them in sport, it means we are capable of something,” the head of state said.

“Tomorrow we will return to this European, world family. We will show them what we are capable of. Athletes must decide for themselves: if they want to go, let them go and perform, but they need to show their best there, so that we could be proud of them. I am not going to put pressure on anyone. I am not going to insist on anything,” the Belarusian leader said.

"The things these scoundrels do in sport do not benefit sport, especially the Olympic movement. You know, in the past wars were stopped during the Olympics. Those were peaceful competitions. You see what they have now turned the Games into (as well as everything else). Regarding participation... As I have already said, this is a matter for athletes. Of course, we want to see the anthem, the flag and so on, as it should be. But I understand the athletes: this is their life. Understanding this, I do not talk about it and do not insist on any of the options," Aleksandr Lukashenko replied. 
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