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‘Dark page’: German fury as Russia, Belarus athletes allowed at Paralympics

Germany’s Olympic and Paralympic governing bodies expressed dismay Wednesday over the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) decision to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete at the Paralympics, describing it as “a dark page”.

In a statement Wednesday, the IPC said athletes from the two countries would be allowed to compete in Beijing as “neutrals”, despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Not excluding these two delegations is incomprehensible”, fumed Friedhelm Julius Beucher, president of Germany’s paralympic committee.

The 75-year-old is angry that the IPC “did not have the strength to go beyond the regulations to stand on the side of humanity.

“Here they argued with a set of rules, while in Ukraine there are no rules for shooting and killing.

“This decision sends totally the wrong signal.

“What happened today was a dark page in the history of the IPC and the matter is not forgotten,” he warned.

Thomas Weikert, head of the German Olympic Sports Confederation, was just as dismayed.

“The decision of the International Paralympic Committee is wrong,” he said.

Weikert said that allowing Russians and Belarusians compete as neutral athletes “undermines the intention and the objective of (international) sanctions” imposed on Russia.

Karl Quade, Germany’s chef de mission, said the worst thing for him about the IPC decision was when “cheers broke out next door in the Russian House. That was incredible.

“It’s incomprehensible that the IPC makes a completely different decision to the vast majority of the sports world,” he added with numerous federations having banned Russia teams and athletes from competing.

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