Russian athletes to leave Beijing after IPC ban, no plans to appeal decision

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As hundreds of athletes from around the world prepared for Day One of the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing on Friday, 71 athletes from Russia were preparing to head home. 

Following the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) decision on Thursday to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – after initially allowing them to participate as “neutrals” – the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) announced Friday that was preparing to leave China and would not appeal the decision. 

ATHLETES FROM RUSSIA, BELARUS BARRED FROM PARALYMPIC GAMES AS PROTESTS JEOPARDIZE ‘VIABILITY,’ IPC SAYS

“The Russian Paralympic Committee and its athletes currently do not consider it possible or expedient to stay in Beijing and are planning to leave the Winter Games capital, the city of wonderful people, in the near future,” the RPC said, via Reuters. 

Fireworks are seen as the Olympic cauldron is lit during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics at the Beijing National Stadium on March 04

Fireworks are seen as the Olympic cauldron is lit during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics at the Beijing National Stadium on March 04
(Photo by Wang He/Getty Images for International Paralympic Committee)

According to the report, Russia would not appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) because the IPC rules give it the authority to “refuse any athlete entry, without indication of grounds.”

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The organization announced Thursday that athletes from Russia and Belarus would no longer be allowed to participate in Beijing as protests from other nations were “jeopardizing the viability” of the Games. 

BEIJING, CHINA - MARCH 2:  International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons speaks during a IPC press conference in Main news center on March 2, 2022 in Beijing, China. 

BEIJING, CHINA – MARCH 2:  International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons speaks during a IPC press conference in Main news center on March 2, 2022 in Beijing, China. 
(Photo by Wang He/Getty Images for International Paralympic Committee)

The IPC backtracked just one day after confirming that athletes from Russia, who compete under the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), and Belarus would be allowed to compete but not under their flag and would also not be included in the official medal table. 

Russia condemned the IPC’s decision on Thursday, calling it a “disgrace.”

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The Paralympic flag is raised alongside the Chinese flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics at the Beijing National Stadium on March 4, 2022 in Beijing, China. 

The Paralympic flag is raised alongside the Chinese flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics at the Beijing National Stadium on March 4, 2022 in Beijing, China. 
(Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

“The situation is monstrous, of course. This is a disgrace for the International Paralympic Committee,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, via Reuters. “We strongly condemn the International Paralympic Committee for this decision.”

A dozen athletes from Belarus have also been banned from competition.

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