MINSK, 19 May (BelTA) – The Belarusian Paralympic Committee continues to work on the speedy return of athletes to international competitions, Chairman of the Belarusian Paralympic Committee Oleg Shepel told the media on 19 May, BelTA has learned.
According to Oleg Shepel, the Independent Appeals Tribunal of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has recently upheld the appeals by Russia and Belarus against their suspension by the International Paralympic Committee. However, Belarusian and Russian athletes remain barred from competitions. The head of the Belarusian Paralympic Committee emphasized that the Belarusians had never violated the sport laws and strictly obeyed all the rules, so the decision to suspend the Belarusian Paralympians from the international competitions was absolutely unauthorized. The Appeals Tribunal objectively approached the matter and passed the correct verdict. According to the IPC Constitution, the decisions of the independent tribunal are not retroactive and should not even be brought up for discussion in the future.
Next time the status of Belarus’ and Russia’s membership in the IPC will be discussed at the General Assembly in Bahrain on 28-29 September. According to Oleg Shepel, the chances for the Belarusian and Russian Paralympians to return to the international arena after the decisions of the Tribunal are much higher than before. He added that Belarus would do its best to ensure that at the assembly in Bahrain the question of the IPC membership would not be discussed at all, as required by the constitution of the organization. But even if this happens, there is a high probability that the September meeting will support Belarusian and Russian athletes.
Oleg Shepel recalled that the decision to suspend the membership was taken at an extraordinary assembly held in Berlin in November 2022. Then it was attended by 119 of the 180 countries. There were 54 votes against the membership of Belarus and Russia, with 45 supporting the two countries. This is despite the fact that representatives of a number of states simply were not given visas to enter Germany at that time, and there are many supporters of Belarusians and Russians among them. “They will come to Bahrain and must show their objective position,” the BPC head said. He said that even if the ruling is not in the favor of the two countries, there is still an opportunity to appeal to the German court, as the IPC headquarters is located in Bonn.