Boxing legend Klitschko blasts Olympic bosses’ decision to allow Russian athletes to compete under ‘neutral flag’
WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO has accused Olympic boss Thomas Bach of “serving the interests of Russia” by offering their athletes a way back.Yesterday the International Olympic Committee set out recommendations for sporting bodies to allow individuals, but not teams, from Russia and Belarus to take part in competitions under a neutral flag.
Wladimir Klitschko accused Olympic boss Thomas Bach of ‘serving the interests of Russia’ by offering their athletes a way backCredit: AFP
A decision on whether they can compete at Paris 2024 has not yet been taken.
But former Ukrainian heavyweight boxer Klitschko, who is fighting invading Russian troops in his homeland, slammed the proposals.
Klitschko, 47, said: “The IOC authorises the athletes to participate in the Olympic Games under ‘neutral flags’. This decision is a false flag.
“Thomas Bach serves the colours and interests of Russia. This decision contaminates the Olympic spirit and is like this war — a nonsense.”
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Klistchko’s swipe comes after the sad death of 22-year-old Ukrainian boxer Maksym Galinichev.
Galinichev, a European amateur champion, was killed in battle against the Russian Army near Kreminna.
Klitschko, who became super-heavyweight Olympic champion at the 1996 Atlanta Games, also pointedly re-tweeted old images of Bach laughing and talking to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko.
The IOC’s Executive Board have considered the findings of a four-month consultation.
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Speaking in Lausanne, IOC president Bach said: “We see that in a number of sports — tennis, cycling, handball, football, ice hockey — it’s already working.
“You see athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport participating in competitions, even against Ukrainian athletes.”
International Olympic Committee president Thomas BachCredit: AFP More