Russian and Belarusian athletes banned from gymnastics

Russian and Belarusian athletes banned from gymnastics

International Gymnastics Federation bans Russian and Belarusian athletes from competitions starting Monday

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has announced that starting Monday, Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials, including judges, are not  to take part in FIG competitions or FIG-sanctioned competitions.

The decision means that those athletes and officials from those two federations; are barred from competing in the Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan from March 10-13.

On Saturday, FIG had announced that Russian and Belarusian national flags would not be displayed; and the two countries’ anthems will not be played at any FIG-sanctioned event.

Friday’s announcement takes this a step further.

“The FIG would like to stress that these exceptional and emergency measures are decided and issued in view of the above-mentioned extraordinary circumstances,” FIG said in a statement on the organization’s website.

“They constitute preventive measures aiming at preserving the integrity of Gymnastics; the safety and integrity of members and all athletes and participants; and at fighting against all forms of violence and of sports injustice,” the statement continued.

“Russian and Belarusian nationals who are members of the FIG Executive Committee or of FIG technical committees; are not affected by this measure when acting in their capacity as FIG Authorities,” the statement said.

“The EC will continue to monitor the situation closely; and may further adapt these exceptional measures according to future developments,” FIG added

At the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Beijing on Friday; International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Andrew Parsons called for peace in his speech; however, a large part of his message was censored by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

Also read: Canada’s Olympics, Paralympics teams won’t boycott the 2022 Beijing Games

“Tonight, I want to begin with a message of peace. As the leader of an organization with inclusion at its core;  I am horrified at what is taking place in the world right now,” Parsons said; likely in reference to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

“The 21st century is a time for dialogue and diplomacy, not war and hate,” he added.

CCTV’s live commentary didn’t translate his description of the events taking place in the world; and most of the speech that followed. It also lowered the volume of Parsons’ speech on the broadcast and paused the sign language interpreters on screen.

During the Opening Ceremony, Parsons clapped as the 20 athletes competing for Ukraine were introduced. But the scene of Parsons cheering for the Ukraine delegation was also censored; replaced with a wide shot of the stadium by the state broadcaster.

Some context: Earlier this week, the IPC banned Russian and Belarussian athletes from competing at the Beijing Paralympic Winter Games due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

China has repeatedly refused to call Russia’s unprovoked military attack on Ukraine an “invasion,” instead calling for diplomacy; and blaming the United States and NATO for “fueling fire” in the tensions.

This week, a Western intelligence report indicated that Chinese officials in early February; requested that senior Russian officials wait until after the Beijing Olympics had finished before beginning an invasion into Ukraine.

China responded that the report was “speculations without any basis with the aim of smearing China.

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