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Neutral athletes from Russia, Belarus will not march in Paralympic Opening Ceremony


ZHANGJIAKOU, CHINA - MARCH 02: A detailed view of the Paralympic Logo at the Athletes Village on March 02, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images for International Paralympic Committee)

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Individual neutral athletes from Russia and Belarus who are allowed to compete at the Paris Paralympics will not march in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) published eligibility conditions and participation regulations for those athletes on Wednesday.

Previously, the IPC announced in September that athletes from Russia and Belarus are eligible to compete in an individual neutral capacity at the Paralympics and other events sanctioned by the IPC. No teams of Russian athletes are allowed.

The IPC added Wednesday that an independent external body will assess athlete eligibility for the Games, which open Aug. 28.

“Athletes and support personnel who have actively supported the war in Ukraine will not be eligible to be entered into the Paralympic Games, neither will those who are contracted to the Russian/Belarusian military or national security agencies,” according to a press release.

Approved athletes will compete under the designation Neutral Paralympic Athletes (NPA) with no national colors, flag, country name or symbols.

Russia invaded Ukraine the week before the 2022 Winter Paralympics began with the aid of Belarus as a staging ground.

Athletes from Russia and Belarus were barred from those Games the day before the Opening Ceremony in a reversal from a decision 20 hours earlier that would have allowed them to compete as neutrals without their national flags, symbols and anthems.

The reasoning was that ensuring safety at the athletes’ village was becoming untenable, and athletes from many other nations vowed to not compete if Russia and Belarus athletes remained in the Games.