Russian para-athletes to compete at 2024 Paralympics

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Para-athletes from Russia will be allowed to compete at next year’s Paralympics after officials voted against a full ban.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) will take a second vote on whether those taking part can do so under the Russian flag, or as neutral athletes.

Russia is banned from Paralympic competition following the country’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The Games in Paris start on 28 August.

In a statement on Friday, the IPC said its members had voted 74-65 – with 13 abstentions – against a motion to suspend fully Russia’s National Paralympic Committee (NPC) for “breaches of its constitutional membership obligations”.

The IPC’s decision comes two weeks before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meets to discuss the participation of Russia and Belarus at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Belarusian athletes and para-athletes are also banned from competition because of the country’s support of the war in Ukraine.

Competitors from both countries were not allowed to take part as neutrals at the Winter Paralympics in Beijing in March 2022 after the IPC were criticised for originally saying they could.

Andrew Parsons, president of the IPC, said the organisation was “very firm believers that sport and politics should not mix”.

In May 2023, an appeal by Russia and Belarus against their suspension by the IPC was upheld – but they remain banned from world championship events.

Russian athletes were allowed to enter the Covid-delayed 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo in 2021, however, under a neutral flag using the initials of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC).

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