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Opinions & Interviews

8 Sep 2016

Belarus president outraged by ‘democracy’ of International Paralympic Committee

MINSK, 8 September (BelTA) – President of Belarus, President of the National Olympic Committee Alexander Lukashenko has been outraged by what representatives of the International Paralympic Committee did to athletes and members of the Belarusian delegation during the Paralympics opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, BelTA learned from Natalya Eismont, Press Secretary of the Belarusian head of state.

The Press Secretary noted: “Actions of the International Paralympic Committee are still baffling. Not even reporters know all the facts. As far as I know, the ceremony, the procedure, during which our delegation was supposed to carry the Russian flag, should have happened in a totally different manner: our main flag bearer in a wheelchair should have been followed by another four athletes in wheelchairs and it is they who were supposed to carry two large flags — the Belarusian one and the Russian one. They should have carried these flags next to each other at the head of the Belarusian delegation. But international sport functionaries offhandedly overpowered our wheelchaired athletes, took away these flags, and prevented the people from calmly and peacefully expressing their opinion.”

“The fact outraged everyone, particularly the president of our country,” stressed Natalya Eismont.

She also commented on the recent piece of news stating that a Belarusian sport functionary had been stripped of accreditation with the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro for carrying a Russian flag. “Many people have been outraged by this fact as well. Once again the International Paralympic Committee has demonstrated its so-called democracy. The Belarus president is outraged by this fact as well. It is shocking that the person has been gagged and can no longer perform his official duties,” said the Press Secretary.

In his words, the Belarus president’s stance on the matter is straightforward: support and solidarity with the Russian Paralympians. “We believe it is absolutely unacceptable, it is a crime when perfectly healthy people of some authority choose to infringe on dignity of people, whose abilities are somewhat limited,” said Natalya Eismont.

She emphasized that Belarus believes the situation when Russian flags are disallowed during the Rio Paralympics 2016 opening ceremony to be totally savage. “Our team fixed this injustice. It was the initiative of the team,” noted the Press Secretary.

Natalya Eismont underlined that Paralympians recognize no borders. Paralympians from Belarus, Russia and other countries live and train together. “One can say that borders and nationalities don’t matter in their case. This is why our Paralympians chose to express their extreme solidarity this night,” said the Press Secretary of the Belarusian head of state. “Within a day virtually the entire country joined them emotionally. There is no need to look for some supernatural explanation. We did it because we are absolutely close to each other, we are brotherly nations. And certainly Alexander Lukashenko backed the gesture of our Paralympic Committee.”

The Press Secretary also stated that the reason why the Russian team had been denied access to the competitions cannot but raise questions. “We are straightforward on the matter as well. We want pure sport without doping. Our president has repeatedly talked about it. Not a single fact has been quoted, not a single proof has been presented to confirm that any of these athletes have used performance-enhancing drugs,” noted Natalya Eismont.

“If we get proof tomorrow that every one of these people has been involved in a doping scandal, we will offer an apology for the fact that the Belarusian team has disrupted the opening ceremony according to the outcry of Western media. Since there is no proof for now, we believe that instead of disrupting the ceremony we restored justice and did an absolutely correct thing,” concluded the Press Secretary of the Belarus President.

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