Elina Svitolina urges IOC to ‘stick to banning Russian and Belarusian athletes’ for Paris 2024 Olympics
Elina Svitolina has called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not to backtrack on the banning of Russian and Belarusian athletes from next year’s Paris Games, saying it will “send a strong message worldwide”.
Athletes from Russia and Belarus are currently banned from participating in several sporting codes – including track and field – following Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine in February last year.
However, some sports like tennis do have a different policy as players from the two countries are allowed to compete, but they play under a neutral flag as their countries’ anthems and flags are banned.
There had been suggestions in recent weeks that the IOC could follow tennis’ lead and allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete under neutral flags, which would have paved the way for them to participate in next year’s Olympics in Paris.
However, those flames were put out on Tuesday as the organisation insisted: “The sanctions against the Russian and Belarusian States and Governments are not negotiable.”
Former world No 3 Svitolina, who is currently on maternity leave after giving birth to her first child in October, has been one of the most vocal athletes when it comes to calling for sanctions and she issued a statement on social media, saying the status quo should remain.
“The Olympics are the biggest dream and ultimate privilege for athletes. They are the largest platform for inclusion and diversity in sports, capturing the attention of the world,” she wrote.
“With this in mind we must stick to banning Russian and Belarusian athletes, sending a strong message worldwide, that we are united in the sanctions imposed against Russia and Belarus and that there are consequences for the heinous acts of their governments; their lives cannot continue as normal and the world, nor the Russian or Belarusian people can be ignorant of the atrocities they are committing in Ukraine.”
✊🏼🇺🇦 @Olympics @iocmedia #RoadToParis2024 pic.twitter.com/4jQbvVQHzn
— Elina Monfils (@ElinaSvitolina) February 1, 2023
Svitolina, who won bronze in the women’s singles at the 2020 Tokyo Games, added: “Volodymyr Androshchuk, one of Ukraine’s rising stars in track & field, was sadly killed in action. He will never fulfil his potential or dreams at the games, so why should Russian and Belarusian athletes get their chance when their governments are robbing innocent people and athletes of their chance?!!”
Russian and Belarusian players were banned from competing at Wimbledon and other events in the United Kingdom last year, but the All England Club and Lawn Tennis Association were the only two tennis bodies to take this stance.
The ATP and WTA then retaliated by stripping Wimbledon of ranking points and the decision looks set to reversed this year with players from the two countries expected to play in the UK in June and July.
READ MORE: John McEnroe calls for Russian players to return to Wimbledon after latest twists
WATCH: ‘Greek god’ Marton Fucsovics takes shirt off to reveal ripped body
Marton Fucsovics shows off his muscles again.
Aryna Sabalenka eyes Iga Swiatek’s No 1 spot – Why Sabalenka could usurp the Pole in the coming months
Aryna Sabalenka’s world No 1 goal could be within touching distance.
What Novak Djokovic needs to do to be top seed at French Open
Novak Djokovic has a big chance to be back at No 1 in time for the French Open.
Wimbledon reach verdict on Russian players with announcement imminent
The decision on whether Russian and Belarusian players can compete at Wimbledon this summer has been made.
Tennis legend predicts how many Grand Slams Novak Djokovic will win
Novak Djokovic is “going to be winning majors as long as he’s healthy”.
Aryna Sabalenka, WTA and Steve Simon slammed as tension in tennis continues to escalate
All is not well in women’s tennis.
Carlos Alcaraz off the mark in Miami as Jimmy Connors explains why he is head and shoulders above his peers
Carlos Alcaraz up and running in Miami as Jimmy Connors waxes lyrical about Spaniard.
Ons Jabeur’s ‘season is just starting now’ after injury woes
Ons Jabeur ready to go again.
WTA accused of ignoring request for meeting with Ukrainian players – ‘Just silence’
Ukrainian players want to meet with the WTA board.