Russia could be barred from the 2024 Summer Olympics, an official warns

Updated: Jul 19

Russian and Belarusian athletes might not be able to qualify, Sir Craig Reedie suggested.

Because of its ongoing military campaign in Ukraine, Russia may be barred from the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, a powerful member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has warned.

The likelihood that Russian athletes would compete in the French capital in 2024, according to Sir Craig Reedie, the former head of the World-Anti Doping Agency (WADA), is the "$64,000 question."

With events that will offer qualifying spots for Paris 2024 approaching, Reedie thinks there is little chance that Russia, which has seen several federations ban its teams and athletes from competitions based on an IOC recommendation issued in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine, will be allowed back into the international fold anytime soon.

Regarding Belarus and Russia, Reedie remarked, "I'm afraid a choice will have to be made as to what happens to each of these two countries.

"And based on what I can tell, the consensus is that they shouldn't be eligible.

Since there is now no obvious method to attain some kind of representation, Reedie, an honorary IOC member, continued, "I think most people are struggling with how we could do that. As a result, you retain the status quo."

To "maintain the integrity of international sporting competitions and for the safety of all participants," the IOC demanded that Russia should not be permitted to participate in any international games.

The bans on Russian and Belarusian competitors, according to IOC President Thomas Bach, are in part for the athletes' protection from alleged hostility they might encounter at international competitions.

Prominent Russian sportsmen and sports figures have denounced the bans as discriminatory and in violation of Olympic values.

Despite exceptions being made in sports like boxing, cycling, judo, and tennis - though this month, Russians were not allowed to compete at the Wimbledon Grand Slam - Reedie says that the necessity of a ban on Russia is still a commonly held opinion.

"The issue currently is that the qualifying period starts as specified by the international federations and the IOC, about two years before the Games," said Reedie.

"Therefore, there is a serious problem for the federations, who have decided to follow a clear directive and refrain from inviting Russians and Belarusians to tournaments.

"Therefore, it seems improbable that anyone would qualify in sports other than cycling, judo, and tennis, which don't operate that way. How well will they perform in those three sports to qualify? I'm not certain, "Reedie admitted it.

Finally, Reedie pointed out that even if Russians were invited back to international sports, it would be challenging for them to attend qualifying contests once they had already started.

He observed that it was challenging to announce, "All of you who have now qualified, we've modified the rules," midway through.

The Olympic Games in Paris 2024 are set to begin on July 26 and end on August 11.

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