Paralympics 2024 in Paris: athletes from Russia and Belarus excluded from the opening

As of: March 6, 2024 8:10 p.m

At the Paralympics in Paris (August 28th to September 8th), athletes from Russia and Belarus will only be allowed as spectators at the opening and closing ceremonies. This emerges from the guidelines for athletes only permitted under a neutral flag, which the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) published on Wednesday (March 6, 2024).

The activists from Russia and Belarus “While they will participate in the competitions in an individual and neutral capacity, they will not march with the other teams at the opening ceremony or have a flag bearer at the closing ceremony“, said the IPC in a press release.

In addition, the Paralympics umbrella organization announced that the starters from the two nations who take part as “Neutral Paralympic Athletes” will not be included in the medal table. The neutral Olympic anthem should be played during their possible victories.

The IOC has not yet made a decision on how to deal with Russia at the opening

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has not yet publicly communicated a decision on how to deal with athletes from Russia and Belarus at the symbolic and highly publicized ceremonies for the Summer Games in the French capital, which take place before the Paralympics. The Rings organization said on Wednesday after the IPC announcement in response to a request from the AFP news agency, “at a given time” to inform about relevant decisions.

The Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC), which, like its Belarusian counterpart, is currently suspended due to the armed attack by both countries on Ukraine, strongly condemned the ban on its athletes taking part in the celebrations. The IPC guidelines are “discriminatory“, explained the Russians. The decision of the Paralympics organizers means a “Denial of the right to a national identity“, it”put Russian athletes at a disadvantage compared to athletes from other countries“, it was said from Moscow.

Stefanie Markert, Sportschau, March 6, 2024 12:58 p.m

Russian and Belarusian activists are not allowed to represent their countries in Paris for both upcoming major events. After successful qualification and fulfillment of further formal criteria, participants from Russia and Belarus are only allowed to start on the Seine under a neutral flag.