Exclusion of Russian athletes: an Olympic champion accuses the IOC of having “created a new war”

Russian athlete Mariya Lasitskene, Olympic high jump champion, accused International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach on Thursday of having “created a new war” by recommending the exclusion of Russian athletes from international competitions.

Exclusion of Russian athletes: an Olympic champion accuses the IOC of having “created a new war”

Russian athlete Mariya Lasitskene, Olympic high jump champion, accused International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach on Thursday of having “created a new war” by recommending the exclusion of Russian athletes from international competitions. .

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Following the Russian invasion in Ukraine, the IOC had recommended at the end of February to the international federations to ban the Russians and Belarusians from their competitions, a request followed by most authorities.

"You say you made this decision for our safety, but that's not true. Russian tennis players who play around the world prove it. Fans love athletes for the show they put on, not for their nationality,” writes the athlete in an open letter written in English and Russian on his social networks.

“In high jump, my main competitors are Ukrainians. I don't know how to look them in the eye, or what to say to them. They and their families experience what no human being should have to experience (...) Your decision did not stop the war but created a new one, around and in sport, which is impossible to contain.

“I suspect that you will not have the courage or the dignity to put an end to the sanctions against Russian athletes, since that would amount to admitting that during all these months you have violated the Olympic Charter (...) but I ask you to no longer put the current situation of world sport on the account of "the protection of Russian sportsmen", she adds.

Crowned Olympic high jump champion in Tokyo in 2021, Mariya Lasitskene is the headliner of Russian athletics and has for several years led the revolt of athletes from her country who denounce the incompetence of their federation mired in the affairs of doping.

After being prevented from competing in the Olympics in 2016, the three-time world champion (2015, 2017 and 2019) and her compatriots were repeatedly deprived of competition by the international federation (World Athletics) as part of sanctions against the Russian athletics.

“For the past seven years, I have not been able to compete in international competition for almost four years (…) World Athletics uses my passport at every opportunity. You never found fault with it, and now they are starting again with your encouragement, ”she reproached Mr. Bach.

Many of the exclusion measures by the federations have been challenged by the Russian authorities before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which has yet to examine these appeals on the merits.

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