Foreign minister: Athletes should decide on Beijing Olympics participation

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center).
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Estonian athletes should be able to decide if they want to participate in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, diplomatic boycotts should be up to politicians, Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) told ERR on Wednesday.

A recent report from the Washington Post said the U.S. is planning to stage a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China and will not send an official delegation in protest against human rights abuses.

Under such a diplomatic boycott, U.S. athletes would take part as normal, but there would be no accompanying political delegation of officials and politicians.

Foreign minister Eva-Maria Liimets said on Vikerraadio's news show "Uudis+" on Wednesday that politics should not get in the way of sports and that Estonia is not planning on prohibiting its athletes from participating in the event.

She said the decision for a diplomatic boycott should be left to politicians. "Speaking of sports, we think sports and politics should not be mixed. If the Olympic Games take place, our athletes should be able to participate as they see fit. Our politicians can decide how our delegations can participate in the Olympics when the time comes," the minister said.

The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are set to begin on February 4. There have been calls to boycott the games in protest of human rights abuses, as was the case in 2008 for the Beijing Summer Olympics.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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