Beijing, Jan 28 (IANS) After the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced to explore a pathway to bring individual athletes from Russia and Belarus back to international competitions, the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) said it will support the initiatives and decisions of IOC and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).
A COC spokesperson told Xinhua news agency that the statement issued by the IOC Executive Board on Wednesday is the result of communication and consultation between the IOC and all stakeholders of the Olympic Movement.
At the 11th Olympic Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland last December, leaders of stakeholder groups of the Olympic Movement had in-depth discussions on this issue and agreed that the mission of the Olympic Movement is to unify the world through peaceful competition and that all athletes should be protected. COC President Gao Zhidan also attended the meeting, reports the agency.
“The OCA offered to facilitate the participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus in competitions in Asia under its authority, while respecting the sanctions in place,” the OCA acting president Raja Randhir Singh was quoted as saying, which was widely supported by participants.
The IOC recently once again held consultation calls with all IOC members, International Federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and athlete representatives in this regard, during which the position of IOC was widely backed.
“The Chinese Olympic Committee claims that athletes from all over the world should enjoy equal rights to participate in international competitions. Whether they participate or not should be determined based on their sports performance, without interference from political and war factors,” the COC spokesperson said.
“China upholds the principle of political neutrality in sports and opposes politicization of sports. We believe that sport should be a bond that unites the world, not the other way around. The international sports community should work together for the shared future, rather than tearing it apart.
“Earlier, COC President Gao and Vice President Li Lingwei have respectively expressed the above position at the Olympic Summit and the IOC Consultation Call. We appreciate the IOC for its adherence to the principle of political neutrality, athlete-centered approach and efforts to guarantee the interests of every athlete amid difficulties and challenges.
“The Chinese Olympic Committee will actively respond to and support the initiatives and decisions of the IOC and OCA, and is ready to build platforms for all the athletes, including athletes from Russia and Belarus under such conditions, so as to jointly defend the Olympic values and the unity of the Olympic family.
“IOC, OCA and other stakeholders will further discuss the specific plans regarding the participation of such athletes in the Asian Games Hangzhou 2022, while relevant plans will serve the common interests of all athletes.”
The Hangzhou Asian Games is set to take place from September 23 to October 8, 2023.