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Opinions & Interviews

8 Dec 2017

Lukashenko encourages Russian athletes to show Russia's greatness as sport country in Pyeongchang

Lukashenko encourages Russian athletes to show Russia's greatness as sport country in Pyeongchang

MINSK, 8 December (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko commented on the situation around the Russian Olympic team following the IOC decision to ban Russia from the games during his visit to OAO Kamvol on 8 December, BelTA has learned.

“It is hard for me to judge what is going on there. What do we know? So far there has been this media frenzy. We have not heard any calm sound arguments yet. There had not been any, at least before the Russian president made a statement (and I think he was right). Every athlete, if he or she wants it, should go to the Olympics under any flag. If this, God forbid, had happened to Belarusians, I would have done the same. It is your life. Go and do your best,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

Lukashenko encourages Russian athletes to show Russia's greatness as sport country in Pyeongchang“Russia can solve this problem in style by showing that it is a great sporting power and that it has been treated unfairly. If Russian athletes go out there and win medals in snowboarding, cross country skiing, biathlon, short track and ice hockey, this will be the best evidence that these accusations were ungrounded,” the president said.

The head of state noted that he does not support this approach when the Russian team was punished collectively. “Every athlete must bear his/her responsibility,” the Belarusian leader said.

He stressed that you should mete out punishment only when doping is supported at the level of the state. “But the IOC has not made such findings,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

Lukashenko encourages Russian athletes to show Russia's greatness as sport country in Pyeongchang“I think Russia will survive this. They need to go and show that they are a great sporting power. And then everything will be clear to everyone. Not going and placing last… You know what opinion this will create. So everything is in the hands of athletes. Clean athletes should go and prove their worth. All sorts of arguments, reasonings and all this staff will die away and emotions will go away. Russia itself recognized that there were violations. They will sort everything out and make appropriate conclusions,” the president said.

“I am sure that without Russia the international sports would be incomplete. Therefore, Russia will remain part of the Olympic and sport movement. I am 100% sure about this. Everything is in the hands of Russia and, above all, the athletes of Russia,” the head of state noted.

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