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Russian Paralympian opens up on ordeal of being ousted from Games

The International Paralympic Committee changed its mind and excluded Russians a day before the Games started

Paralympic medalist Alexey Bychenok has voiced his frustrations and denied there was any “difficult situation” at the Beijing 2022 Games after the Russian team was excluded by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) following its arrival in China.

Skier and biathlete Bychenok held hopes of adding to the silver medal he won in 12.5km middle sitting in Sochi in 2014, only for the IPC to reverse an initial decision to allow Russian athletes to compete under a neutral banner and other conditions.

“We were preparing for Beijing in Italy,” said Bychenok, discussing the build-up to the Games, which started on March 4 and end today, with Lenta.

“We saw that many Russian athletes were excommunicated from competitions. We arrived in China, slept for four hours and rushed to training [at] the stadium.


“We did a few rounds and enjoyed it very much. And when we returned to the hotel, we learned that the Paralympic Committee had changed its decision.”

Irina Gromova, the senior coach of the Russian national team in cross-country skiing and biathlon, was distraught at the decision, according to Bychenko.

“I was frightened,” he admitted. “She had such an expression on her face, as if one of her relatives had died.


“She wanted to cry and restrained herself so that it does not affect us. [The IPC] wrote that this was allegedly due to the difficult situation in the village.

“There was a feeling that we, like outcasts, were thrown out of the Olympic village. They brought buses and made a corridor so that we would not go anywhere although it was five in the morning – where would you go?

“Maybe they thought that we would foolishly destroy everything there, I don’t know… and there was not a soul at the airport.”


Bychenok also missed out on the 2016 Games because of a ruling on the Russian team by doping chiefs.

“Of course, we follow the results of the Paralympics,” he said of the 2022 edition. “We support only the Chinese.

“They were very supportive of us after the suspension. They wrote messages, approached [us], wished us good luck, sympathized.


“They said that the Games would be incomplete without us, that they hoped that one day we would still go to the start together.”

The 35-year-old said that Russian Roman Petushkov, a six-time champion in 2014, is part of the training team for China.

“We rejoice for him – there is a feeling that we are involved,” he said. “It is to be hoped that this situation will not happen again. I plan to work out another cycle: the Summer Games in 2024 and the Winter Games in 2026.

“Maybe someone will not even remember later that there were no Russians in Beijing. But all the medals there are devalued.”

Read more

Russian athletes leaving for the Paralympic Games in January © Sefa Karacan / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Banned Paralympians return to heroes’ welcome in Russia (VIDEO)

Bychenok added on Instagram that the Russian Paralympic team was considered the strongest in the world.

“Each athlete has relatives who are waiting for them at home,” he said. “Parents who care about their child with all their heart.

“Wives and husbands, most of the time communicating with each other through instant messengers and video calls. Children who grow up so fast and ask several times a day when will we meet. Friends.

“We came to win, but we were deprived of the Games. If they think that they will break us like that, they are mistaken.

“We won’t give up. And we also have a powerful young generation of athletes [in Gromova’s team], with burning eyes, an inquisitive mind, with a strong desire to become world champions.

“So it will be – and no-one will stop us. Thank you, everyone, for your support.”

https://ift.tt/rZLmzOx 13, 2022 at 03:26PM
from RT – Daily news

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