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Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : IOC Approves 14 Athletes From Russia, 11 Belarusians with Neutral Status for Paris Olympics

The Olympic ring seen on Eiffel Tower, June 7 2024 - AP
The Olympic ring seen on Eiffel Tower, June 7 2024 - AP
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IOC Approves 14 Athletes From Russia, 11 Belarusians with Neutral Status for Paris Olympics

The Olympic ring seen on Eiffel Tower, June 7 2024 - AP
The Olympic ring seen on Eiffel Tower, June 7 2024 - AP

The IOC approved 14 athletes from Russia and 11 Belarusians with neutral status to compete at the Paris Olympics in a first list from some sports published Saturday.

Five sports — though not tennis, swimming or judo — were assessed by an International Olympic Committee panel judging if athletes had expressed support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine or had ties to sports clubs linked to the military or state security services.

Cycling, gymnastics, taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling were assessed first and lists of athletes from other Olympic sports are likely to follow within days, The AP reported.

Athletes approved Saturday include the defending Olympic champion in men’s trampoline, Ivan Litvinovich from Belarus, and Russian cyclist Aleksandr Vlasov, who has three career top-10 finishes in Grand Tours.

It is still unclear how many Russian athletes will compete at the Olympics being held from July 26-Aug. 11. The IOC already barred them from taking part in the opening ceremony parade of athletes scheduled on boats sailing along the River Seine.

No athletes were approved by the IOC in taekwondo, where the Russian team took two of the eight gold medals in Tokyo three years ago by Vladislav Larin and Maksim Khramtsov.

“In some sports, the number of eligible athletes may be lower than the number of earned quota places,” the IOC said in a statement.

Russia and Belarus are banned from team sports at the Paris Olympics because of the war on Ukraine.

Individual athletes with Russian and Belarusian passports have been allowed to compete as neutrals in qualifying events in most other sports, then apply for entry to the Olympics.

Ukrainian athletes including Olympic medalists and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy have urged IOC and sports leaders to impose a blanket ban on all Russians. Track and field did that, and soccer bodies FIFA and UEFA excluded Russian teams from international play within days of the invasion starting in February 2022.

The two-stage vetting process for neutral status goes through sports governing bodies, then the IOC panel before appeals are possible at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Further conditions imposed on the athletes include competing as Individual Neutral Athletes, with the acronym in French AIN, without the Russian flag — and in uniforms that are not in its colors of red, white and blue.

The Russian anthem is also barred, replaced with music commissioned by the IOC, and medals they win should not be included in any table.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : IOC: France Conditionally Confirmed as 2030 Winter Games Hosts

Paris 2024 Olympics - IOC Session 2030 & 2034 Announcements - Le Palais des Congres de Paris, Paris, France - July 24, 2024. French President Emmanuel Macron, Member of Parliament Laurent Wauquiez, President of the region Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur Renaud Muselier and David Lappartient, President of the France's Olympic Committee during the IOC Session. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Paris 2024 Olympics - IOC Session 2030 & 2034 Announcements - Le Palais des Congres de Paris, Paris, France - July 24, 2024. French President Emmanuel Macron, Member of Parliament Laurent Wauquiez, President of the region Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur Renaud Muselier and David Lappartient, President of the France's Olympic Committee during the IOC Session. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
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IOC: France Conditionally Confirmed as 2030 Winter Games Hosts

Paris 2024 Olympics - IOC Session 2030 & 2034 Announcements - Le Palais des Congres de Paris, Paris, France - July 24, 2024. French President Emmanuel Macron, Member of Parliament Laurent Wauquiez, President of the region Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur Renaud Muselier and David Lappartient, President of the France's Olympic Committee during the IOC Session. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Paris 2024 Olympics - IOC Session 2030 & 2034 Announcements - Le Palais des Congres de Paris, Paris, France - July 24, 2024. French President Emmanuel Macron, Member of Parliament Laurent Wauquiez, President of the region Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur Renaud Muselier and David Lappartient, President of the France's Olympic Committee during the IOC Session. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

France was conditionally picked as the host of the 2030 Winter Games on Wednesday and must now deliver key financial guarantees in a timeline to be set by the International Olympic Committee, the IOC said.
The French Alps bid was the preferred choice since June but due to elections and a current caretaker government had been unable to deliver the necessary state and regional financial guarantees in time.
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to the IOC session prior to the vote on Wednesday in a bid to ease any concerns and show his support for the candidacy.
"I confirm the full commitment of the French nation, and assure you that I will ask the next prime minister to include not only this guarantee but also an Olympic Law in the priorities of the new government," he said.
"Seven years ago we made the same commitment (for the Paris 2024 Summer Games), and we delivered. We will do the same,” Reuters quoted Macron as saying.
The IOC said it had received a number of assurances regarding the outstanding guarantees that include the state's Olympic delivery guarantee and the financial guarantees of the two regions involved -- the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur regions.
However, it said it would not sign the host city contract, which has already been signed by France, until those guarantees were delivered.
The IOC decision means France will host the Winter Games six years after the Summer Olympics in Paris, which start on Friday.
France previously staged the Winter Games in Chamonix in 1924, Grenoble in 1968 and Albertville in 1992.