Mazepin welcomes Olympics’ new Russia stance

Thu, 7 September 2023, 09:00

Sep.7 (GMM) Nikita Mazepin says it’s a good sign that Russian athletes appear poised to be invited to take part in the next Olympics.

The Russian driver and his father’s company Uralkali were ousted by Haas at the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis early last year.

Not just that, other Russian drivers told by the FIA that if they want to compete in sanctioned series, they had to sign a document denouncing their country and abiding a list of conditions.

This week, French president Emmanuel Macron told L’Equipe that it will be difficult for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to distinguish between Russian athletes who are victims and those who are supporters of Vladimir Putin.

“This is the real question,” he said ahead of the 2024 Olympics in Paris. “This is the balancing act that we will have to carry out.”

But Olympic Games chief Thomas Bach then told India’s CNBC-TV18 broadcaster that Russians will be allowed to compete at the Olympics as neutral athletes.

This, he said, is because of the IOC’s “values” – a position he says is “accepted” by those around him.

“We welcome Thomas Bach’s recent announcement,” said Mazepin, who set up a foundation to support Russian athletes affected by the Ukraine conflict and subsequent western sanctions and restrictions.

“We’re glad we were heard,” the 24-year-old added. “It is important for Russian athletes to remain part of the Olympic movement and continue to participate in international competitions. But especially in the Olympics.

“Athletes should be judged by their results, which they pursue for all of their lives.”

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