In a resounding refusal since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the International Olympic Committee has banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from the 2023 Asian Games, to be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23.
The irrevocable determination was made in its entirety by the IOC almost three months after the Olympic Council of Asia gave the green light, through a vote, to the participation in neutral conditions and in individual events of a maximum of 500 athletes from the governed nations by Putin and Lukashenko.
“The concept of participation of athletes with Russian and Belarusian passports in the 2023 Asian Games was explored and discussed at the Olympic Summit in December 2022, but it was not feasible for technical reasons,” the International Olympic Committee said. The Russian and Belarusian NOCs did not issue any statement by way of reply.
After being disqualified from recent core competitions such as the World Swimming Championships (by decision of World Aquatics), Athletics (World Athletics) and the European Games (European Olympic Committees), the new ban will entail great sporting costs for athletes, in the measure that they will be further relegated on the road to Paris 2024 -Hangzhou 2023 has direct qualifying disciplines for the Olympic Games, including boxing and tennis, in which Russia is a power- and they will do without a new opportunity for test internationally. The presence in future competitions organized by Asian federations was not rejected.
It is the second suggestive setback of the IOC to the detriment of the belligerent countries in the last quarter. At the end of July, one year before the beginning of the Olympic Games, the Lausanne offices did not send the invitation to Paris to either of the two National Committees.
Despite the fact that the field of speculation about the presence of Russians and Belarusians in Paris 2024 will remain fertile until the IOC announces its final decision -still without a stipulated date- the qualifying instances are running out and the route to the Stade de France it will be more and more sinuous.