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Paris 2024 Paralympics: Russian para-athletes will be allowed to compete after IPC vote

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Russian Paralympians will be allowed to compete in next year’s Paralympic Games after officials voted against a blanket ban.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) will hold a second vote to decide whether competitors can compete under the Russian flag or as neutral athletes.

Russia was banned from competing at the Paralympic Games in 2022 after invading Ukraine.

The Paris Olympic Games will open on August 28.

The IPC said in a statement on Friday that its members voted 74 to 65 (with 13 abstentions) against a motion to fully suspend the Russian National Paralympic Committee (NPC), citing “a breach of constitutional membership obligations”.

The IPC’s decision comes two weeks before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meets to discuss Russia and Belarus’ participation in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Belarusian athletes and athletes with disabilities are also banned from competing due to Belarus’ support for the war in Ukraine.

Athletes from the two countries will not be allowed to participate as neutrals in the March 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing, after the IPC initially said they could participate as neutrals but faced criticism.

IPC chairman Andrew Parsons said the organization “firmly believes that sport and politics should not mix”.

In May 2023, Russia and Belarus’ appeals against their IPC bans were upheld, but they were still banned from participating in World Championship events.

However, Russian athletes were allowed to compete at the 2021 Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, under a neutral flag using the abbreviation of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC).

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