International Paralympic Committee Reverses Decision, Bans Russia and Belarus From Competing at Paralympics

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Russia and Belarus have been banned from the Paralympic Games after several teams threatened to boycott if athletes from either nation competed. | Photo courtesy of GETTY IMAGES

The decision to allow Belarussian and Russian athletes to compete as neutrals in the Beijing Paralympic Games has been reversed by the International Paralympic Committee after harsh criticism from several national paralympic committees and world governments. Russia and Belarus are now banned from competing.

The IPC’s decision to ban Russia and Belarus from competing comes only 24 hours after it announced athletes from the two countries could compete as neutrals, according to Deseret News. According to the IPC, several national teams in Beijing were threatening not to compete so long as Belarus and Russia were still allowed to participate in the games, so the committee made the decision to ban them to ensure the Games could carry on smoothly. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee agreed with the IPC’s decision.

“The war has now come to these Games and behind the scenes many governments are having an influence on our cherished event,” IPC President Andrew Parsons said Thursday after announcing the ban, the wire service reported. “We were trying to protect the Games from war.”

In response to being banned from the Games, Russia condemned the IPC’s decision and says it will take legal action. 

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