Asia athletes back Paris pathway for Russians, Belarusians
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) continued to pave the way for Russian and Belarusian athletes to...
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) continued to pave the way for Russian and Belarusian athletes to qualify for next year's Paris Summer Games through events in the region when its Athletes Forum endorsed the principles behind it.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is coming under immense pressure from 35 governments, including the United States, Britain and France, to exclude athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus because of the invasion of Ukraine.
The IOC said in January it was open to including the athletes from the countries in the Olympics as neutrals and suggested Asia as a possible qualifying pathway to circumvent bans from European regional competitions.
The OCA has already offered to let Russian and Belarusian athletes compete at the Asian Games in China later this year and according to the regional body, a gathering of 88 athletes at a closed meeting in Bangkok on Saturday (Mar 18) agreed.
An OCA statement said the forum had agreed that athletes "should not be punished for the actions of their governments" and "should have access to international competitions (including the Asian Games) without any form of discrimination".