Greater than 300 energetic and former fencers have written to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) urging the group to uphold sanctions in opposition to Russian and Belarusian athletes, saying that permitting them entry again into worldwide competitions can be “a catastrophic error.”
“Russia’s aggression violates not solely the norms of worldwide regulation but in addition the elemental values of Olympism, together with peace, harmonious growth of humankind and respect for human dignity and human rights,” the letter reads.
“So long as Russia’s struggle of aggression, aided by Belarus, wages on, each states’ athletes and officers should stay excluded from world sport. Given the latest escalation of assaults in opposition to Ukrainian civilians, there must be no purpose at the moment to permit Russia and Belarus to be reintegrated into world sport.
“Integration would lay a precedent by which a nation can violate the values and guidelines of sport and worldwide peace with out concern of penalties,” the letter provides.
The letter – addressed to IOC president Thomas Bach, who’s a former Olympic fencer, and Emmanuel Katsiadakis, the interim president of the Worldwide Fencing Federation (FIE) – was despatched on the day the IOC Government Board is about to start its three-day assembly to debate solidarity with Ukraine, the sanctions in opposition to Russia and Belarus and the standing of athletes from these international locations.
has reached out to the IOC and FIE for remark.
In January, the IOC outlined a multi-step plan for Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part on the upcoming 2024 Summer season Video games in Paris and the 2026 Winter Video games in Milan, which was met with criticism from the US, Canada and several other European international locations, together with the UK, Germany and Poland.
In a February assertion, the IOC reiterated its condemnation of the struggle in Ukraine, one yr on from the beginning of the invasion.
However the fencers accuse the IOC and FIE of permitting Russian and Belarusian athletes again into competitions, regardless of the IOC’s February 2022 sanctions because of the Ukraine invasion.
“With full disregard for athletes’ voices, you’ve gotten permitted each Russia and Belarus again into FIE competitions, in addition to a suspected match hosted on Russian soil,” the letter stated.
“That is an obvious breach of the IOC’s place that ‘no worldwide sport occasions are to be organized or supported by an IF or NOC in Russia or Belarus’ and as soon as once more exposes Russian pursuits outweighing the voice and rights of athletes, particularly these from Ukraine,” the fencers say.
It’s unclear which match is being referred to within the letter. has sought clarification from the IOC and FIE.
Final month, the US and greater than 30 different “like-minded” international locations backed a proposed ban of Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in worldwide sports activities, in line with a joint assertion.
In the meantime, Ukraine’s sports activities minister stated in January the nation wouldn’t rule out boycotting the Olympics if Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to compete at Paris 2024.