Government Bodies
Flag Friday, 29 September 2023
Minsk Mainly clear +22°C
All news
All news
14 September 2023, 16:10

Belarus' NOC comments on possible participation of Belarusians in Olympic Games

An archive photo
An archive photo

MOSCOW, 14 September (BelTA) – President of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Belarus Viktor Lukashenko talked to reporters and commented on whether Belarusian athletes will participate in the forthcoming Olympic Games or not, BelTA has learned.

Viktor Lukashenko is taking part in a joint session of Athletes' Commissions of Belarus' NOC and the Russian Olympic Committee in Moscow on 14-15 September.

Viktor Lukashenko said: “First, we effectively don't have the invitation. This is why it is too early to talk about any participation. If we get invited, they [the International Olympic Committee] will specify some requirements, some conditions. Do we, sport officials, have the right to forbid people to go? I don't think so. Despite the abundance of competitions every athlete probably dreams of going to the Olympic Games and winning. All the athletes are adults and can make this decision on their own and feel the responsibility for it. This is why they should look into it, study all the terms, all the information, and decide on whether they will go or not on their own.”

Photo courtesy of Belarus
Photo courtesy of Belarus' NOC

Speaking about the dialogue with the International Olympic Committee, the head of Belarus' NOC noted that the dialogue proceeds at quite a serious level. “But they [the International Olympic Committee] themselves are in some kind of indecision zone. They don't know what to do from now on. They've brought about a situation when they don't know where to go later on,” he remarked.

Viktor Lukashenko also did not rule out the possibility that the decision on participation of Belarusian athletes in international competitions is being delayed specifically in order to prevent the athletes from having enough time to go through qualifications-based selection for the Olympic Games. “Many qualification competitions have already been held. Many athletes didn't qualify. This is why some think that it is done deliberately,” he remarked.

When asked by a BelTA reporter to clarify whether athletes, who decide to participate in the Olympic Games on their own, may lose funding due to requirements of the International Olympic Committee, Viktor Lukashenko said: “In the current conditions the athletes, who participate in international competitions, should not be associated either with the National Olympic Committee or the Sports and Tourism Ministry or with their own sport federations. Admittedly, I don't understand how it is possible. And if there is some official funding, then they are subjected to these conditions. On the other hand, if an athlete is not a member of a sport team or a federation, then we have no right to fund them. This is why it is certainly a complicated matter. Naturally, it will be addressed. We have yet to see how it will be done but we will come up with the right decision.”

Speaking about the possibility of disputing the decisions of international functionaries, Viktor Lukashenko said that the relevant efforts are being made but they are unlikely to produce a positive outcome. “We can dispute [the decisions] by sending complaints to the International Olympic Committee. And we are doing it. Appealing, for instance, to the court in Lausanne is a lengthy and very expensive process with a result you can guess. This is why if a normal dialogue can be had and a sensible decision can be made, we are doing it,” he concluded.

The joint session of the Athletes' Commissions of Belarus' NOC and the Russian Olympic Committee in Moscow mainly focuses on discussing the requirements presented by the International Olympic Committee before Belarusian and Russian athletes as well as the perspectives the athletes will have once their sport careers are over. Over 250 people are taking part in the event. Belarus is represented by Acting Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee Ksenia Sankovich, Chairman of the Athletes' Commission Aliaksandr Bahdanovich, the commission's member Liudmila Kalinchik as well as invited athletes Karyna Dziominskaya (archery), Ruslan Skamaroshka (swimming), Pavel Dzik (aerials), and other ones. Russia is represented by participants of Olympic Games Anastasia Maximova, Evgeny Rylov, Artur Dalaloyan, Nikita Nagorny, Aliya Mustafina, Sofia Pozdnyakova, Alexander Tretyakov, and other ones.

In addition to the plenary session the organizers have come up with roundtable sessions in the format of discussion groups, which participants talk about matters of interest for current athletes and those, who have completed or are about to complete their sport careers. Each discussion group is expected to work out documents containing proposals and wishes of the participants as a result of the discussion.

Subscribe to us
Recent news from Belarus