Olympic committee chief strongly supports IOC Russia, Belarus statement

Urmas Sõõrumaa.
Urmas Sõõrumaa. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Head of the Estonian Olympic Committee (EOK) Urmas Sõõrumaa has commended a call by the international governing body to bar Russian and Belarusian athletes from competition, following the invasion of Ukraine which started last week.

Sõõrumaa said: "I fully endorse this decision. I believe that sport also contributes to a national image. In the event of a [Russian or Belarusian] victory, the national anthem would still be played, and national insignia would still be worn."

"Quite often we hear some convoluted statements from these international organizations, but this one is surprisingly clear. As I said before, sport creates an image and has a great impact on athletes in society.

"This war is very near to all of us and it is possible that it was this proximity which influenced the IOC decision," he went on.

In a statement on Monday, the IOC said its executive board: "Recommends that international sports federations and sports event organizers do not invite or permit the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions," and the organization has also withdrawn its highest award, the Olympic Order, from Russian leader Vladimir Putin and all other high-ranking officials who had held it.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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