USOPC calls for Russia, Belarus to be banned from Paralympics

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The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee called for a complete and immediate ban of Russia and Belarus athletes and officials from international sports, including the Paralympics that open on Friday.

“As the world watches in horror while Russia brazenly attacks the innocent people and athletes of Ukraine, this is the only acceptable action to be taken until peace is restored,” the USOPC said in a statement.

The Canadian and British Paralympic committees also said they believe Russia and Belarus athletes should not be allowed to compete at the Paralympics.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has not announced a decision on Russia and Belarus athlete participation and plans to discuss the matter at a previously scheduled Wednesday board meeting.

On Monday, an IPC spokesperson said that’s the earliest it can do so as members fly into Beijing this week.

Earlier Monday, the International Olympic Committee Executive Board urged for sports federations to bar athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus to protect the integrity of the events and the safety of the other participants.

The IOC acknowledged that the IPC may be unable to take certain actions on short notice and supported the IPC as it decides how to address Russia and Belarus.

“The IPC acknowledges the statement made earlier by the IOC Executive Board and have been in close dialogue with the IOC regarding the breach of the Olympic Truce,” an IPC spokesperson said Monday.

Ukraine’s National Paralympic Committee said Tuesday that its full team of 20 athletes and nine guides will be traveling to China for the Paralympics.

Last Sunday, many Ukrainian athletes wrote in an open letter to the IOC and IPC presidents calling on athletes from Russia and Belarus to be banned from international competition, including the Paralympics.

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