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17 Jul 2016

Belarusian Olympic champions and medalists send open letter to IOC President

MINSK, 17 July (BelTA) - Belarusian Olympic champions and medalists have sent an open letter to President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach to support Belarus’ Senior Men’s Canoe and Kayak National Team which has been banned from the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro by the decision of the International Canoe Federation (ICF), BelTA has learned.

As was reported, on 16 July 2016 at 1:00 a.m. Belarus received a letter from the ICF saying that its executive board took a decision to impose a one-year suspension on Belarus’ Senior Men’s Canoe and Kayak National Team, including coaches, medical and support staff. Thus, seven Belarusian athletes who won Olympic licenses will not be able to perform in Rio 2016.

In response to this decision, the Belarusian Olympic champions and medalists sent a letter to the President of the International Olympic Committee and the IOC Executive Committee.

“Having no evidence-based facts, the ICF Executive Board imposed a one-year suspension on the Belarusian canoe and kayak athletes, who are among the world’s best, and thus denied them the right to compete in Rio,” the letter reads.

While welcoming and supporting the anti-doping campaign, Belusian Olympic champions and medallists believe that such campaign must be fair unbiased and must be supported by verified facts. "Otherwise the motive of the anti-doping campaign raises some doubts, especially in athletes' minds," the letter reads.

The full text of the letter is posted on the official websites of the National Olympic Committee and the Sport and Tourism Ministry.

On Monday, 18 July, Belarus will submit the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne a package of documents, which will be reviewed in accordance with the working schedule of this organization. Earlier, the NOC and the Sport and Tourism Ministry of Belarus issued a joint statement against the ICF decision to suspend Belarusian team.

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