Under the Syrian flag at the start
Russian athletes spark ‘hellish scandal’
07/06/2023 12:29 p.m
In many sports, Russian athletes remain banned from competing or are only slowly returning. But some Russians are now apparently starting anyway – at the Pan-Arab Games. A journalist reveals that they are running for Syria under false names.
Several Russian athletes have been listed under false names as part of the Syrian team at the Pan Arab Games in Algeria. The Russian journalist Sergei Lissin named seven athletes from various disciplines on Telegram who should appear as part of the Syrian team at the international sports event. “We are in for a hell of a scandal,” Lissin wrote.
The athletes are therefore two cyclists, a judoka, a gymnast, a badminton player, a track and field athlete and a swimmer. The dates of birth of two athletes were also changed to make them younger.
In the meantime, the Russian Ministry of Sports and some national sports federations have reacted. According to the ministry, two of the athletes are officially registered representatives of the Syrian team with the relevant international federations and are not currently part of the Russian national teams. For the remaining five, the information on the Pan Arab Games website does not correspond to reality, the ministry said in Russian sports media.
According to the media, the national federations of athletics and cycling announced that they would deal with the case. The organizers of the Pan-Arab Games did not initially react to the reports. The Pan-Arab Games is an international multi-sport event in the Arab world, taking place in Algeria until July 15. 22 nations compete against each other in 22 sports. Women have participated in the Games since 1985.
Russian athletes are banned from participating in many international sporting events due to the Russian war of aggression that Moscow has been waging against Ukraine for over 16 months. In March, the International Olympic Committee cleared the way for the readmission of Russians and Belarusians under certain conditions.