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Russia-Belarus invitation to Hangzhou Asian Games ends in disaster

The Organization of the Council of Asia’s (OCA) decision to invite Russia and Belarus to next month’s Summer Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, is looking increasingly likely to end in disaster.

The OCA has not communicated any details or guidelines regarding the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Games to the 45 member National Olympic Committees (NOCs), including the KOC, according to an inquiry by the KOC on Monday.

With 46 days to go before the start of the Asian Games, there is still no clarity on what events athletes from the two ‘observer’ countries will be able to compete in, raising further doubts about whether Russia and Belarus will even show up in Hangzhou.스포츠토토

The fact that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the OCA, which seemed to be on the same page, are currently at odds adds fuel to the fire for Russia and Belarus to boycott the Asian Games.

The IOC banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from international competition for their invasion of Ukraine in February of last year, but then effectively rescinded the bans in January of this year, clearing the way for athletes from both countries to compete at the Games as the calendar of qualifying events for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games drew closer.

Then the OCA unilaterally invited the athletes to the Asian Games without the consent of its members, giving them a chance to build their international credentials, drawing criticism from Ukraine and other European nations and backing the IOC into a corner.

The OCA announced its intention to invite up to 500 athletes from Russia and Belarus to the Asian Games shortly after the Session earlier this month and promised to consult with the IOC Executive Board and the sport’s international federations (IFs) to determine which sports the athletes would compete in and how they would compete.

However, discussions between the IOC and OCA on the Asian Games were halted when the IOC announced that it would not recognize Sheikh Talal Fahad Al-Sabah (Kuwait), who was elected as the new OCA President by the General Assembly.

Al-Sabah is the son of the OCA’s first president, Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and brother of former president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah, who led the OCA from 1991 to 2021.

On July 27, the IOC imposed a three-year suspension on former OCA President Alsaba, who recused himself from the OCA after being found guilty of forgery in a court of law and is currently suspended as an IOC member, alleging that he interfered in the OCA presidential election and exerted undeniable influence.

The IOC Ethics Commission also recommended that the IOC not recognize the new OCA executive until it has fully reviewed the election process.

With the IOC, the world’s governing body for sports, refusing to recognize the president of the OCA, Asia’s leading sports body, discussions on the Hangzhou Asian Games between Russia and Belarus naturally took a backseat, according to the Athletic Council.

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