Abhinav Bindra supports IOC's ban on Russian athletes

Bindra explained that since athletes from Ukraine are now unable to compete in international events due to Russia's invasion, the same fate must be thrust upon their Russian counterparts.

Shooter Abhinav Bindra at launch function of Sport of Life initiative with Abhinav Bindra Foundation Trust in Bengaluru.   -  SUDHAKARA JAIN

The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recommendation to not allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions found support in 2008 Beijing gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra.

Bindra explained that since athletes from Ukraine are now unable to compete in international events due to Russia's invasion, the same fate must be thrust upon their Russian counterparts.

“The IOC cannot ban an individual athlete, unless he or she had direct involvement in the war. The principle behind the decision is event-based participation. Athletes from Ukraine, at the moment, cannot participate in international sports competitions. This war has been thrust upon them. It’s not the fault of Ukrainians that they suddenly cannot participate. I support the IOC’s decision,” Bindra, an IOC Athletes' Commission member, said here on Friday.

Bindra spoke at Healthium Medtech’s inauguration of the ‘Sport of Life’ initiative with the Abhinav Bindra Foundation Trust (ABFT). The initiative aims to support injured sportspersons with the cost of medical treatment, doctors, surgeries and rehabilitation facilities.

“Sport cannot be completely divorced from society. I’m a part of the IOC Athletes' Commission, and we were worried about the situation in Ukraine even before the war started. IOC president Thomas Bach made an appeal to give peace a chance in his Opening Ceremony and the Closing Ceremony speeches at the recent Winter Games. The well-being of athletes is very important, and the IOC is doing a lot of work behind
the scenes in this regard,” Bindra said.

The Padma Bhushan awardee is happy that India (Mumbai) will host the IOC session next year. Important decisions regarding host cities for upcoming events, inclusion or exclusion of sports and federations and
changes in the Olympic Charter are made at IOC Sessions.

“The IOC session is coming to India after 40 years. India is a sleeping giant. The next decade will be a decade for sport in India, and the sleeping giant will finally be awoken. This young Indian society is consuming sport more than ever - both in terms of watching and participation. It will be wonderful for the IOC members to see India’s potential first hand,” Bindra said.

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