MINSK, 10 March (BelTA) - The ban of Belarusian and Russian athletes from the 13th Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing was a complete surprise, an absolutely unlawful decision, Chairman of the Belarusian Paralympic Committee Oleg Shepel told the media on 10 March, BelTA has learned.
“On 2 March, the International Paralympic Committee made a decision that Belarusian and Russian athletes would participate as neutrals at the 2022 Beijing Paralympic Winter Games. On 3 March, the IPC changed its decision. It has gone just a bit too far,” said Oleg Shepel.
In his words, it was the strongest psychological blow for the entire Belarusian delegation, especially the athletes, because it is a violation of all Olympic laws and principles, as sport should unite, not divide people, should not mix up with politics.
“This decision is absurd. Athletes have been purposefully preparing for these competitions for four years. For some of them these Games could have been the last ones in their careers. And the day before the opening of the Paralympics they are told that this is no longer needed,” said Oleg Shepel.
In his opinion, by banning the Belarusian and Russian athletes, the officials have opened a Pandora's Box. Now there are no guarantees that the teams will not be banned from tournaments for other far-fetched reasons, the head of the Belarusian Paralympic Committee said.