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2022 Winter Paralympics Kick Off Amid International Uncertainty

Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji

The 2022 Winter Paralympics kick off this wekk with a drastic change reflecting the new geopolitical circumstances in Europe since the Winter Olympics ended.

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The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced Thursday it will refuse athlete entries from Russia and Belarus for the Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing due to the invasion of Ukraine.

This escalated from the IPC’s previous decision, announced just hours prior, that Russia and Belarus would be allowed to compete in the Paralympics as “neutral” athletes, but would be excluded from the medal table.


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Several national governing bodies had called for a complete ban on international sporting participation for Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials before the Beijing Paralympics, including the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee.

Had Russian and Belarusian athletes not been banned, athletes from various countries were prepared to boycott competitions against them, and the situation in the athletes’ village was proving untenable.

The Russian Paralympic Committee later issued a statement, saying it considered the IPC’s decision to be illegal.
Under the Olympic Charter, the Ukrainian Paralympic delegation successfully traveled to Beijing earlier this week.

Meanwhile…

It’s undeniable that sanctions against a country’s government affect the average citizen first, and not everyone is comfortable with Russian Paralympians being punished.

However, the Paralympics are political by nature, and to maintain peace at the Games, this ultimately was the only feasible option.

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