Olympics-Nordic countries jointly oppose Russian, Belarusian sports participation

FILE PHOTO: The Olympic rings are seen after the IOC officially announced that Paris won the 2024 Olympic bid during a ceremony at the Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

(Reuters) - The Nordic Olympic Committees wrote to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Tuesday to reiterate their opposition to Russian and Belarusian athletes being allowed to take part in international sports.

The IOC said last month that athletes from Russia and Belarus might be allowed to earn slots for the Olympic Games in Paris next year through Asian qualifying.

"Now is not the right time to consider their return; that is our position," the statement said.

Athletes from Russia and neighbouring Belarus, which aided Moscow's invasion of Ukraine a year ago, have been banned from many international competitions since, and organisers of the Paris 2024 Olympics said they will abide by the IOC's decision on who is allowed to take part in the Games.

Tuesday's joint statement by the Nordic Olympic Committees, Paralympic Committees and sports confederations said they stood firm in their opposition to Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials being allowed to participate in international sports.

"We, the Nordic Olympic and Paralympic Committees and Confederations of sports, take this opportunity to reaffirm our steadfast support once again with the Ukrainian people and the demand for peace," it said.

Last week, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland called on international sports bodies to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in the Olympics and other events while the war in Ukraine continues.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said that allowing Russia to compete at the 2024 Paris Games would be tantamount to showing that "terror is somehow acceptable".

(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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