Sports boss makes prediction on Russian athletes’ fate
Stanislav Pozdnyakov spoke about the current bans imposed on his country and when they could be lifted
The president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), Stanislav Pozdnyakov, has said athletes from his homeland could find out in January if they will be allowed to compete in qualifying events for the Paris 2024 Games.
Russian athletes have been banned from global competitions across numerous sports after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued a recommendation in February following the onset of the military operation in Ukraine.
Almost 10 months later, comments made by IOC president Thomas Bach and developments at a recent Olympic Summit in Switzerland have raised hopes that Russian and Belarusian athletes could be cleared in time for qualifying competitions for the Paris Olympics.
The IOC has said it will explore proposals from Asian Olympic officials which could provide a basis for sportsmen and women from Russia and Belarus to rejoin international competitions under neutral status.
Following an assembly of Russian Olympic officials in Moscow on Tuesday, Pozdnyakov spoke about when a decision could be expected from the IOC.
“Now we have Christmas, New Year, and the holidays ahead of us. I think that the discussion of this issue and the taking of a decision or a change is possible in the second half of January,” Pozdnyakov said.
Pozdnyakov explained that the “priority scenario is that Russian athletes will take part in the 2024 Olympics.”
If they don’t, “an alternative scenario will be implemented which provides for the full participation of Russian athletes in the Olympic Games without restrictions by 2026.”
“In this regard, we have developed a program for the development of Olympic sports, aimed at forming a sports reserve and educating young people.
“The goal is to train a new generation of athletes to enter the top three overall standings at the next Summer Games in Los Angeles after Paris,” Pozdnyakov added.
Pozdnyakov commented that it would be misleading to suggest that the Russian presence at Paris 2024 would be the same as in Tokyo last year, when the ROC took a delegation of 450 people to the Japanese capital.
“It will be smaller in composition,” Pozdnyakov said.
On a broader theme, Pozdnyakov argued that the Olympic Movement is under threat due to the pressure of the West’s collective position.
“Of course, this situation is unique not only for Russia, but for the entire Olympic movement,” he claimed.
“This pressure comes from the collective position of the West, which, contrary to the Olympic Charter, makes decisions on whether athletes can take part in competitions or not, will be banned from crossing territories, the denial of visas, and the transfer of financial payments,” Pozdnyakov added.
“Although the only criteria for participation in the Olympics is the sporting element. So in general, the Olympic movement is under threat.”
Pozdnyakov was unanimously re-elected for a new term as the only candidate in the ROC’s presidential elections at the meeting on Tuesday.