By Staff Reporter
MINISTER of Youth, Sports, Arts and Culture, who also serves as a member in the International Olympic Committee, Kirsty Coventry has backed the reinstatement of Belarusian and Russian athletes in next year’s Paris Olympics.
Belarusian and Russian athletes were suspended from participating in IOC sanctioned games following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
The IOC is moving to allow Belarusian and Russian athletes to compete in qualifying games as neutrals.
“I’ve obviously been consulted and I’ve been speaking to a lot of different athletes and members, and the way in which the President [Thomas Bach] has decided to have those consultations, I think it has to happen.”
“At the end of the day, our Olympic Values are to be open and welcome everyone, so I agree that it’s a first step, and let’s see how that then plays out,” she told insidethegames, an Olympic news website.
While the IOC is reviewing the suspension of Belarus and Russia’s athletes its national symbols will remain under suspension.
However, the IOC faces resistance in lifting a ban on Belarusian and Russian athletes from its European members who are reportedly contemplating on boycotting next year’s games.
Coventry remained tightlipped on whether she would be interested to run for IOC presidency with Bach’s tenure coming to an end.
The most decorated African Olympian is viewed by some as a force that can withstand the demand of IOC top seat.
“We’ll just have to wait and see,” she said.