Contra for German IOC boss: Athletics smashes Bach’s Russia plan

Contra for German IOC boss
Athletics smashes Bach’s Russia plan

Powerful headwind for Thomas Bach: Russian and Belarusian athletes are not allowed to participate in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. In this question, the association is on a clear confrontational course with the IOC.

The light blue shirt and the black jacket fit perfectly, Sebastian Coe had placed his hands elegantly on top of each other, the head of the world athletics association spoke calmly and calmly. But his words had it all. And IOC President Thomas Bach should have listened carefully. “The IOC has no doubt where I stand on this issue,” said Coe – and thus refused to follow Bach on the subject of Russia.

Russian and Belarusian track and field athletes – unlike fencers, for example – are not allowed to take part in international competitions “in the foreseeable future” because of the war against Ukraine, as Coe announced after a council meeting of the world association World Athletics (WA). And that means they cannot qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris either – although at the same time the doping ban against the Russian association RUSAF was lifted after more than seven years.

“The death and destruction” that the world has endured since the attack on Ukraine around a year ago, “including the death of 185 athletes, has only increased my resolve on this matter,” said Coe. Ukrainian athletes got into trouble and sports facilities were destroyed. “Russian and Belarusian athletes, many of whom are affiliated with the military, should not be the beneficiaries of these actions,” Coe said. The core Olympic sport par excellence – with IOC member Coe at the top – is openly in opposition to Bach.

Next showdown is coming

The top sports official recently emphasized in Essen that he has a completely different opinion than Coe. The 69-year-old assured that the IOC was in a “dilemma” and that this was “not an enviable task”, but: Despite all the understanding for the “incomprehensible suffering” caused by the “inhuman crimes”, Bachs knows the much-vaunted solidarity with the Ukraine borders. After all, neither the UN nor the Olympic charter allow athletes to be discriminated against because of their origin. Bach warned of the “disintegration of the international sports system”, he referred to the alleged global majority for reintegration with a view to the 2024 games in Paris.

And so Bach plans Russia’s comeback – at least under certain conditions. Next week there will be the next showdown: On Tuesday, the IOC wants to decide on the criteria for the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes and adopt them as recommendations for the world associations.

Coe and the track and field athletes have already made their decision. As an “IOC member” he will “take part in the meetings” next week, said the 66-year-old Briton and announced that he also wanted to wear his “hat” as President of World Athletics. Bach certainly cannot hope for Coe’s support on the Russia question.

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