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GENEVA (AP) — Olympic gold medalist Wladimir Klitschko has joined Ukraine’s fight against the IOC’s plan to include some Russians at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Former Heavyweight Champion Suggests by video message Sports leaders will be complicit in the war if athletes from Russia and its military ally Belarus can compete at the next Olympics, it was announced Monday.

The International Olympic Committee last week announced a priority pass for Russians and Belarusians who do not openly support the war to qualify for Paris and compete within 18 months as neutral athletes without a flag or anthem. Qualifying events will likely take place in Asia.

The softening of the IOC’s recommendation last February that sports bodies should exclude Russia and Belarus from international competitions has angered Ukraine and warned it could boycott Paris.

Klitschko’s one-minute statement, filmed by a bombed-out building, launched “Dear Thomas Bach” as a direct challenge to the IOC president.

“The world is watching you, history will judge you.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week personally invited Bach to visit the wrecked city of Bakhmut and his advisers on the front lines of the war. Mykhaïlo Podolyak has put an end to his scathing criticism of the IOC on Twitter. With the words “Is that so, Mr. Bach?”

“You represent the universal values ​​of tolerance and peace,” Klitschko told Bach, an Olympic gold medalist in fencing, in front of the camera. is the Olympic champion of

Klitschko, who won the super-heavyweight title at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, said, “We cannot put the Olympic emblem on these crimes because we become accomplices in this abominable war.

Klitschko’s older brother, Vitali, is the Mayor of Kwiu and also a former heavyweight champion. They trained and fought in Bach’s native Germany for much of their professional career.

In response to Monday’s criticism, the IOC said it “rejects this and other defamatory remarks in the strongest terms possible”.

“They cannot serve as a basis for constructive debate,” the Olympic organization said, citing a “unifying mission” for all 206 national teams to compete peacefully together.

The IOC also points to human rights concerns at the United Nations that athletes should not face discrimination based solely on their passports.

The updated guidance must be reviewed by the governing bodies that oversee most of the Paris Program’s 32 sports. The Russian team is already ineligible for the Olympic football tournament due to an international ban by FIFA, citing security concerns and the possibility of some opponents refusing to play.

Shortly after the war began, major Olympic sports such as athletics and swimming left out Russians and Belarusians, while tennis and cycling allowed athletes to compete as neutrals.

Leaders of the Umbrella Group, the governing body of the Summer Games, will meet on March 3 on the Russian issue presented by the IOC.

The group, known by its acronym ASOIF, addressed the independence of its members late Monday and said of the Paris Olympics “the peculiarities of each federation and the importance of respecting its particular qualification process”.


Other AP Sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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