Abhinav Bindra backs IOC decision to ban Russian athletes

India's gold medallist in the 2008 Beijing Olympics Abhinav Bindra, who is a member of the IOC Athletes' Commission, supports the decision.

Published: 05th March 2022 01:08 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th March 2022 01:08 PM   |  A+A-

2008 Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra

2008 Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Russia has been hit by various sanctions in different sectors for its invasion of Ukraine since last week. Even their athletes have not been spared with several international federations banning sportspersons/teams from participating in various competitions after the recommendation of the International Olympic Committee.

Likewise, Paralympics athletes from Belarus and Russia have been banned from the ongoing Winter Paralympics in Beijing as well. Belarus is Russia's key ally in the current attack of their neighbours Ukraine. Many international bodies have closed their doors for competitions, which also comes as a setback for these athletes.

FIFA has banned Russia from the Football World Cup 2022. World Athletics has also banned Russian athletes from all competitions. Other sports, which fall under the banned category include Formula One, Ice Hockey, Judo, among others. The list could only get longer depending on how things shape in the near future.

India's gold medallist in the 2008 Beijing Olympics Abhinav Bindra, who is a member of the IOC Athletes' Commission, supports the decision.

"Sports has tried to remain, historically, apolitical. But as the president of the IOC said that this is a very unique situation that we are in," he said during an event organised by Healthium Medtech, a global Medtech company to inaugurate the 'Sport of Life' initiative with the Abhinav Bindra Foundation Trust (ABFT).

"I would like you to understand the principle of how this decision has been taken. I asked the president a few days ago, and he explained very well that an IOC cannot ban an individual. You cannot ban that he/she is a Russian person unless there is a direct involvement in the war. The principle of the decision is on event-based participation.

"On the personal level, I support that decision.. the Ukrainians, it is none of their fault that they have been invaded suddenly. They do not have accessibility. They cannot participate."

However, calling the current crisis a unique situation may not give a true picture to it. The IOC has taken this call when the body in the past has tried to stay aloof from such kinds of situations, stating politics and sports are two different things.

"These are my personal views. We are living in a different world. I think sports cannot be completely divorced from society. Every element of society is almost coming forward, from various sectors. It is not just sport to put that pressure to work for peace. Sports is also playing its role," he added.

ABFT and Healthium join hands

ABFT aims to support injured players in need with the cost of medical treatment, doctors, surgeries and rehabilitation facilities to recover from sport injuries and carry on with their career.

Healthium will provide its arthroscopy implants required for the surgeries free of cost.

"'Sport of Life' aims to help sportspeople in need pan India with treatment and rehabilitation facilities at their home locations so that they can remain active in sport. We are delighted to join hands with Healthium... to the development of sports in India for being a part of this initiative. We look forward to impacting the lives of 100 sportspeople in need within a year of this initiative," Bindra said.

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