Banned Russian Paralympic athletes return to Moscow to greet heroes in tearful speech

Russian and Belarusian athletes traveled to Beijing as they were banned from competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics after being overturned by the IPC

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IPC makes reverse rotation as Russian and Belarusian athletes banned from Paralympics

Russian Paralympic athletes banned from competing in Winter Olympics in Beijing returned home to greet the heroes.

In the midst of the invasion of the country UkraineInternational Paralympic Committee [IPC] pressured to issue a comprehensive ban on all opponents from Russia and Belarus, a position they initially rejected, ruling instead that they could participate as neutrals.

That decision was widely criticized, however, and before the opening ceremony last Friday, IPC President Andrew Parsons announced the organization had made a U-turn and confirmed athletes from both countries. participation will be prohibited.

During the ceremony, Parsons used his speech to voice his disapproval on the conflict, saying: “The 21st century is a time for dialogue and diplomacy, not war and hatred.”

Crowds gather to cheer Russian athletes back home

Both teams were already in Beijing at the time the decision was made, but on Sunday the Russians flew back to Sheremetyevo Airport, in Moscow, to a standing ovation from fellow countrymen who had come to greet them. bring them home.

Fans chanted ‘ RussiaRussia’ and sang songs while many held up signs of support, waved national flags and took pictures of the 72-man soccer team as they entered the airport.

“I hope that this won’t happen again, for us it was a shock. For us, sport is not just competition, it’s a way of life,” said one campaigner. speaker when speaking in front of a crowd.

“It inspires us and is an opportunity for us to reach our full potential. Banning us from doing that is like forbidding us to breathe.”

Also on the video, it was posted on Twitter of Reuters Sports, one fan said, “We’re here to support our athletes. We want to fight the injustice against them because they’re Russian citizens.”

A tearful athlete speaks to the crowd

Last week, Russia’s state news agency Tass reported that the athletes would appeal the decision but on Friday, Russia’s Paralympic Committee said it was unable to do so because of IPC regulations.

Tass also quoted Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin as saying that his country’s decision to ban the competition was “a blatant violation of athletes’ rights and a manipulation of the Olympic Charter and human values ​​in pursuit of goals.” political goals.”

The IPC is just one of many sports organizations that have imposed sanctions on Russia since their invasion began.

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