(Lausanne) The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, deplored on Thursday the Ukrainian boycotts of several recent competitions, including the Judo and Taekwondo Worlds, to protest against the reinstatement of Russian and Belarusian athletes.

“It is really difficult to understand why the Ukrainian government is depriving its own athletes of a chance to qualify for the 2024 Olympics, and depriving the Ukrainian public of this pride,” the German leader said during the 140th session of the Olympics. Olympic body.

The former Olympic team foil champion at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, deprived of the defense of his title by the boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow and who has made the refusal of political interference the cornerstone of his vision of sport, notably referred to “the instructions of the Ukrainian Ministry of Sports” passed before the World Judo and Taekwondo Championships.

The Ukrainian authorities consider it unacceptable that the IOC recommended in March to the international federations to reintegrate the Russians into Belarusians in their competitions, under a neutral banner and provided they did not actively support the war in Ukraine, and threaten to boycott the 2024 Olympics in Paris in the event of a Russian or Belarusian presence – a point that the IOC will decide “at the appropriate time”, repeated Thomas Bach.

But for the Lausanne organization, “what the Olympic community and the world community as a whole aspires to is that Ukrainian athletes can shine in all their glory in international competitions”, which “implies taking part now to qualifying” for the 2024 Olympics.

“It is difficult to understand why they can participate in tennis, but not in table tennis, in cycling, but not in swimming”, “in discipline A, but not discipline B”, also criticized Thomas Bach.

Advocating an “athlete-centric and values-based” IOC approach, in particular “non-discrimination” between athletes, he dismissed Ukrainian and Russian pressure back to back: “The Russian side wants us to ignore the war , the Ukrainian side that we isolate any holder of a Russian or Belarusian passport”.

“Each of these positions is diametrically opposed to ours”, added Thomas Bach, however leaving a whole suspense on the presence of Russians and Belarusians at the Paris Games.