Russian athletes can compete as neutrals at 2024 Paris Paralympics
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) decided that athletes from Russia can compete in a neutral capacity at the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games.
IPC members voted 90-56 on Friday to partially suspend the Russian Paralympic Committee “for breaches of its constitutional membership obligations.”
In a press release, the IPC said membership obligations included ensuring the successful organization of a Paralympics, promoting Para sport without political discrimination and fair play in Para sport.
That vote came after members decided against fully suspending the Russian committee by a 74-65 vote with 13 abstentions.
The Russian committee’s membership is suspended for two years, but its athletes and related support personnel 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 athlete eligibility is still subject to meeting participation conditions set by the IPC governing board.
The IPC previously banned Russia and Belarus’ Paralympic committees in November 2022, meaning neither nation could enter athletes into World Para Sport events.
Separately, athletes from Russia and Belarus were barred from the March 2022 Winter Paralympics 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.
Russia invaded Ukraine the week before those Paralympics began with the aid of Belarus as a staging ground.
Russian athletes competed at the Tokyo Paralympics under the Russian Paralympic Committee flag and without the national anthem as part of sanctions for the nation’s doping violations. They finished third in total medals, behind China and Great Britain and ahead of the U.S.
The IPC was scheduled to discuss Belarus’ status later Friday.