Sports World

Russia and Belarus athletes will not be allowed to compete at 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing

Athletes from Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to compete at the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing.

The International Paralympic Committee was heavily criticised after initially allowing the athletes to compete as neutrals.

A statement on Thursday said the “situation in the athlete villages” had become “untenable”.

IPC president Andrew Parsons described the athletes affected as “victims of your governments’ actions”.

The Winter Paralympics begins on Saturday, with the opening ceremony taking place on Friday.

“We are very firm believers that sport and politics should not mix,” Parsons said.

“However, by no fault of its own the war has now come to these Games and behind the scenes many governments are having an influence on our cherished event.

“Ensuring the safety and security of athletes is of paramount importance to us and the situation in the athlete villages is escalating and has now become untenable.”

There were set to be 71 competitors from Russia and 12 from Belarus competing in Beijing.