In a stunning reversal, Russian and Belarusian athletes have been banned from the Winter Paralympic Games for their countries’ roles in the war in Ukraine, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said Thursday in Beijing.
The about-face comes less than 24 hours after the IPC on Wednesday announced it would allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete when the Games open on Friday, but only as neutral athletes with colours, flags and other national symbols removed.
The IPC received immediate criticism for its initial decision. It was termed a betrayal that sent the wrong message to Russia’s leadership. The IPC also said it was evident that many athletes would refuse to compete against Russians or Belarusians, creating chaos for the Paralympics and damaging the reputation.
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