Russians to compete at Paris Paralympics after IPC votes against ban

BERLIN -- Russian athletes will be able to compete as full participants or neutral athletes at next year's Paris Paralympics after the International Paralympic Committee members voted against a full ban of Russia on Friday.

The decision clears the way for Russians, whose athletes are currently banned from any Paralympic competition, to be in Paris and what the IPC will decide later on Friday is whether they will do so in full national team gear or if they will compete as neutrals, without national emblems, flags or anthem.

"At the IPC General Assembly in Bahrain, IPC members voted 74-65 (13 abstentions) against a motion to fully suspend NPC (National Paralympic Committee) Russia for breaches of its constitutional membership obligations," the IPC said.

The decision comes two weeks before the International Olympic Committee session in Mumbai where it will also discuss Russia's and Belarus' participation at the Paris Olympics next year.

The IPC had last year suspended the paralympic committees of both countries and banned their athletes from competing following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Belarus has acted as a staging ground for Russian troops and weapons.

Although an appeal against the suspension of the committees was upheld this year, Russian and Belarusian para-athletes remain banned from competitions to this day.

The IOC has not sanctioned the Russian or Belarus Olympic Committee or Russian members of the IOC. It did ban athletes following last year's invasion of Ukraine, which Russia calls a special military operation.

In March, however, it issued a first set of recommendations for international sports federations to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to return.

The IOC has said athletes should not be punished for actions of governments.