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Opinions & Interviews

11 Sep 2016

Carrying Russian flag in Rio viewed as display of solidarity, protest against injustice

Carrying Russian flag in Rio viewed as display of solidarity, protest against injustice

MINSK, 11 September (BelTA) – Carrying the Russian flag by the Belarusian delegation at the opening of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro was a gesture of solidarity and protest against injustice, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko told media on 11 September.

“They took two Russian flags away from our disabled athletes at the entry to the stadium. It is good that our guys had an extra one. That was a display of solidarity, protest against injustice. We are in the same boat with the Russians here and will always stand by them,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

“This is our position, the position of the state, including the President of Belarus. You cannot hurt these people. They have already suffered enough in their lives,” the Belarusian leader underlined

The President also stressed that he is a strong advocate of clean sport without doping. The reason for this is not just a personal position, but also the practical side. “If doping is allowed, then a country like Belarus will never be able to win a medal,” he said.

Alexander Lukashenko stressed that presenting the evidence to violation of anti-doping rules was vital and said that a collective ban was inadmissible. “Our men’s canoe and kayak team, which won about ten medals at every of the recent championships, was banned. Perhaps they just got scared. Maybe the same was true in respect to Russian athletes. This all was very painful for us,” the head of state said.

The President also supported the proposal to “reshuffle” the International Olympic Committee and especially the World Anti-Doping Agency. He pointed to the case when doping tests of some athletes were accidently destroyed, while those of Belarusian and Russian sportsmen were thoroughly restudied. “How can we know the truth? We have no such a chance. They say they decided so and that’s t. They say the court made the decision. And who are to judge? This is today’s democracy,” the Belarusian leader said.

 

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