MINSK, 25 March (BelTA) - Belarus and the Russian Federation will have their own busy calendar of sports events with the participation of athletes from different countries, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Petrishenko said as he met with Russian Minister of Sports Oleg Matytsin, BelTA has learned.
Igor Petrishenko expressed gratitude to the Russian minister for his constructive approach and work to counter sanctions pressure on Belarus and the Russian Federation. "This sweeping incomprehensible chain reaction, the suspension of our athletes...Probably they are wary of competition as we performed well at international venues. Therefore, they found some excuse not to defend their position in a fair sports fight. They just banned us from participation. The International Olympic Committee has taken a strange position. It should act in accordance with the charter that it clearly states that sport and politics do not mix," Igor Petrishenko said.
He stressed that it is not athletes from Belarus and Russia who get affected but also sportsmen from those countries that impose restrictions. "Together we developed the international system, participated in competitions, paid contributions, invested in scientific and medical research. And now we've been canceled. We believe that this is an absolutely wrong approach," the deputy prime minister said.
"We need to think carefully about our joint systemic response to these attacks against our athletes. It was doubly disheartening when our Paralympic teams were banned from the competitions. What were these people guilty of? This is beyond human and sporting understanding. We must develop joint response measures," Igor Petrishenko emphasized.
He thanked the Russian side for organizing the games in Khanty-Mansiysk and the warm, cordial welcome of the Belarusian team. "They were happy with both the results and the atmosphere of the competitions," the deputy prime minister added.
"We must fill the sports vacuum with our own busy calendar of events and involve athletes from the CIS, SCO, BRICS and other friendly countries. We are actively preparing for the II CIS Games which will be held in Belarus. We need to promote them actively around the world so that others would want to join us. We must raise them [competitions] to the highest level. I think we will hold out and will support our athletes," Igor Petrishenko summed up.