Romania has joined the initiative of several countries demanding that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from the 2024 Olympic Games in France due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Last month, the IOC announced that athletes from Russia and Belarus could be allowed to earn their spots at the Olympic Games through the Asian qualifiers and participate as neutral athletes without national flags and anthems. This idea is strongly contested by Ukraine, as well as other countries such as Poland and the Baltic states.
Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said that Russian athletes should take a public stance against the war in Ukraine if they want to be allowed to participate in the 2024 Olympic Games, according to France24.
“We believe it is not the time to consider opening a path for Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to the Olympics. The decision was made after a comprehensive analysis, following an effort in which we involved expertise from both our ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Romanian minister of sports Eduard Novak said on Facebook.
“We condemn the aggression against Ukraine and the support provided in this regard. We have sent our statements in advance, before the meeting on February 10. We also requested that Romania be part of the joint letter to be signed by the representatives of the states supporting this initiative. Beyond any speculations made by some individuals in the public space on this issue, I think it’s important to keep in mind that sport is an ambassador of peace and conveys the healthiest values of equity, inclusion, Olympism, fair play, and long-term development,” he added.
Novak also said that the ministry he leads has provided support to Ukrainian immigrants who have arrived in Romania, by granting them access to our sports facilities and integrating their children into local sports organizations.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos | Sabin Cirstoveanu)