Dmitry Chernyshenko says Russia is working hard on removing the current barriers to the participation of its athletes
Major international sporting events such as the Olympics cannot be considered “complete” without the participation of Russian athletes, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko has said.
Russian and Belarusian sportspeople remain banned from a wide range of global tournaments because of the conflict in Ukraine.
In a potential shift, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stated earlier this month that it would begin to explore a pathway back for athletes from the two countries.
Speaking at a gathering with Russian sports officials in Moscow on Monday, Chernyshenko said that “common sense” must prevail.
“Without our athletes, international competitions, including the Olympic Games, are incomplete,” said the Russian minister, as quoted by TASS.
“Following the results of the [IOC] Lausanne summit, an initiative was adopted to revise the recommendations [on banning Russian athletes].
“The Ministry of Sports, the Russian Olympic Committee and the Foreign Ministry are doing everything possible to remove the restrictions, it must be stated that the mood dictates common sense.”
Chernyshenko is a key sporting figure in his homeland and was president of the organizing committee for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Along with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he was stripped of his Olympic Order after Moscow launched its military campaign in February.
Chernyshenko noted that the current sanctions on athletes, which came as a result of an IOC recommendation to sports federations, have led Russia to seek stronger sporting ties away from the West.
“We are working on alternative formats with the BRICS and SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization] countries,” Chernyshenko said.
Despite the sweeping sanctions imposed on Russia – which included a last-minute blanket ban on the nation’s para-athletes at the Beijing Winter Paralympics in March – the deputy prime minister said his country had adapted well by organizing alternative domestic events.
“We compensated for the injustice with our Paralympians [by organizing] the winter and summer games, ‘We are together – Sport’,” said Chernyshenko.
“There is no question of any comprehensive isolation of Russia, our ill-wishers have not succeeded.
“Next year we set the bar for a minimum of 13,000 competitions in the country.”
At its summit in Switzerland earlier in December, the IOC said it would explore a proposal by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) for Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to competitions under its auspices.
That has raised hopes of athletes being cleared in time for qualifying events ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
December 27, 2022 at 01:47PM