Russia raging as threat of Paris Olympics blanket ban looms large

By Sports Desk February 11, 2023

Russia's sports minister has attacked politicians' demands to block athletes from the country competing at the Olympic Games in Paris next year.

Oleg Matytsin said it was "absolutely unacceptable" for governments to attempt to influence the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

His reaction on Saturday followed Lithuanian sports minister Jurgita Siugzdiniene announcing there was a "unanimous" view from a group of around 35 countries that athletes from Russia and Belarus should be banned from the Paris 2024 Games.

The stance comes amid the invasion of Ukraine, with ministers from countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and Australia, reportedly opposing Russian and Belarusian athletes being allowed to take part, even under a neutral flag.

A virtual meeting of sports ministers, also attended by Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, was held on Friday.

Zelenskyy said the presence of competitors from Russia "cannot be covered up with some pretended neutrality or a white flag", saying their presence would be a "manifestation of violence and lawlessness".

Matytsin told reporters, according to Russian news agency TASS, that other nations had no right to put pressure on Olympic chiefs.

He said: "This is a direct intervention of ministers in the activities of independent international sports organisations, an attempt to dictate the conditions for the participation of athletes in international competitions, which is absolutely unacceptable.

"Moreover, more than a month ago, the national Olympic committees of these countries supported the decision of the IOC on the participation of our athletes in competitions.

"These countries are putting pressure on the activities of independent public organisations, which they tried to accuse us of. Now we see an undisguised desire to destroy the unity of international sports and the international Olympic movement, to make sport a means of pressure in order to resolve political issues."

Matytsin said sport should instead be used "to be an ambassador of peace and build bridges between peoples".

Athletes from Ukraine have accused the IOC of "being on the wrong side of history" as Games organisers consider whether athletes from Russia and Belarus, which has supported Russian invasion efforts, should be able to take part in Paris.

IOC president Thomas Bach previously criticised Ukrainian calls for a boycott of the Olympics if Russians and Belarusians are allowed to take part.

In a statement issued in conjunction with union Global Athlete, Ukraine's Olympic committee said allowing Russia to compete would enable the country to "use the athletes to bolster the war effort and distract from the atrocities in Ukraine".

Related items

  • Jackson and Clayton shine but Jamaica's men fall short of the podium in Rabat Jackson and Clayton shine but Jamaica's men fall short of the podium in Rabat

    Shericka Jackson and Rushell Clayton showcased their class while being among the winners at Sunday’s Diamond League meeting in Rabat, Morocco.

    Jackson, who made her season debut in the 100m in Kingston on May 4 after a late start to her season, was not at her sharpest in Rabat but good enough to keep the field at bay as she sprinted to victory in 22.82 seconds while running into a headwind of -1.0m/s.

    Maboundou Kone of the Ivory Coast was a close second in 22.96 with Helene Parisot of England in 23.02.

    Earlier, Clayton was more impressive. Coming off an encouraging victory at the Jamaica Athletic Invitational on May 11 when she ran a world-leading 53.72, Clayton once again dominated the first 300m but was closed down by compatriot Shian Salmon along the home stretch. Still, she managed to hold on to win in 53.98. Salmon ran an enterprising race for second place clocking 54.27.

    Anna Ryzhykova ran a commendable 55.09 for third place.

    While fortune smiled on Jamaica’s women, the men were not as fortunate as Rohan Watson was edged out of a podium finish in the men’s 100m dash. The reigning Jamaican champion finished fifth in 10.26. He was credited with the same time as fourth-placed finisher Brandon Hicklin of the USA and was 0.01 behind Great Britain’s Jeremiah Azu, who took third in 10.25.

    There was no doubt about the winner Emmanuel Eseme of Cameroon who crossed first in 10.11 with Canada’s Andre Degrasse finishing in second place in 10.19.

    Yohan Blake ran a season’s best 10.41 while being eighth.

    In the men’s discus, Travis Smikle once again exceeded 66m but missed out on a podium position. He finished fourth with his best throw of 66.03m. However, he was no match for winner Mykolas Anelka. The newly minted world record holder produced an impressive throw of 70.70m to win the contest.

    Matthew Denny of Australia finished in the runner-up position with his throw of 67.74m. Olympic and World Champion Daniel Stahl threw 67.49m for third place.

    Fedrick Dacres threw 65.05 for sixth place.

     

  • Walker: Man City driven on by creating history Walker: Man City driven on by creating history

    Kyle Walker believes Manchester City were spurred on by creating history to a fourth straight Premier League title.

    A Phil Foden double and a Rodri strike saw City beat West Ham 3-1 on Sunday as they claimed a fourth consecutive Premier League crown, finishing two points above Arsenal.

    In doing so, City became the first team ever to win England's top division four times in a row, and Walker feels that was one of the key motivations behind the team finishing top of the Premier League pile yet again.

    When asked if creating history had driven him and his team-mates on, Walker told Sky Sports: "I think so, I think so. We went out of the Champions League, got into the FA Cup final, but to do this, make it four in a row, it made it something special.

    "It has been spoken about all year what we can achieve and the history we can make. But it is about the finer details. It was down to just one game and that game was West Ham United. We get past that then we make history, but more importantly we claim the Premier League again.

    "It is a very, very tough league to win. I looked at the Italian league, German league, Spanish league, the winners are 10, 15 points clear. Fair play to Arsenal and Liverpool for what they have done throughout the season, making sure they push us right to the limit."

    Walker turns 34 later this month but has shown little signs of slowing down, playing an integral role again this season on his way to a sixth Premier League title of his decorated career.

    Walker still feels he is capable of playing at the top level, saying: "I feel young. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I feel young, I feel great, I still have my pace.

    "I come to training every day wanting to learn. Once that goes then it is probably time to pack up, but this group of lads keeps you on your toes. They keep on you to keep improving every day."

    Walker has been City's captain this season, making his 300th appearance for the club in the title-securing win over West Ham.

    The defender was keen to emphasise that it has been a collective effort this term, though, explaining: "I am the man at the front and I wear the armband, but I don't put myself above anyone else. We are a team.

    "There are four captains including myself, and we all pull our weight. I am just the man they've picked to wear the armband which I am very grateful for. To be able to lift the trophy in this scenario, the four in a row, it is a dream come true."

  • Ancelotti focused on fitness and rhythm despite Villarreal comeback against Madrid Ancelotti focused on fitness and rhythm despite Villarreal comeback against Madrid

    Carlo Ancelotti was unbothered by Real Madrid's failed attempt to defend a three-goal lead against Villarreal, instead focusing on avoiding injuries and keeping their rhythm.

    A double from Arda Guler, as well as goals from Joselu and Lucas Vazquez, had Madrid in control at 4-1 up away to Villarreal on Sunday.

    Yet Alexander Sorloth, who pulled a goal back earlier on, managed three goals in eight minutes to salvage a 4-4 draw for the hosts against the LaLiga champions.

    Despite faltering to a late comeback, Ancelotti was more than pleased with his side's efforts, ahead of the upcoming Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund on June 1 at Wembley Stadium.

    "The target was not the points because we don't need them, the target was to play a good game with rhythm, intensity, avoiding injuries. Everything went perfectly," he told a post-match press conference.

    "I'm not worried ahead of the Champions League final, this was an open game.

    "Maybe we conceded more goals than necessary but that's okay, it doesn't change anything about what the final has to be. In attack, we played well."

    Villarreal are set to finish eighth in the LaLiga table, unable to be caught by any team below and incapable of reaching seventh-placed Real Betis.

    Sorloth may end with an individual award, though, after scoring his league-leading 23rd goal of the season with the fourth of his quartet of strikes.

    "It was a match with a lot of goals, the kind that the fans like," Villarreal forward Gerard Moreno, who provided three assists, told Movistar. 

    "I'll take the reaction in the second half. We will try to go to Europe next year.

    "I hope Sorloth ends up top scorer. He's a fantastic teammate. He deserves it. We're going to try to help him. He's had an incredible season."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.