Andrey Rublev, the Tokyo doubles gold medallist, and fellow tennis players Darya Kasatkina and Anna Kalinskaya are among the 12 Russians and Belarusians who have declined invitations to compete as neutral athletes at the Paris Olympics.

Athletes from Russia and Belarus are barred from competing in the Paris Olympics, with the exception of a few who will compete as neutral athletes without flags or national anthems.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently announced a revised list of neutral athletes, including Daniil Medvedev, the 2021 US Open tennis winner, and Ekaterina Aleksandrova, the women’s world number 22. An IOC team meticulously examined the athletes to verify that they had no military connections.

Other athletes’ decision to play 

Like Rublev, Kasatkina, and Kalinskaya, Tokyo singles silver medallist Karen Khachanov and Liudmila Samsonova also declined invitations to play. However, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, who won doubles gold and bronze in London in 2012, has accepted the chance to compete. Australian Open winner Aryna Sabalenka is yet to make a decision.

In other sports, gymnast Ivan Litvinovich, who won gold for Belarus on the trampoline in the Tokyo Olympics, and Russian canoeist Alexey Korovashkov, who won bronze in London, are among those who have accepted the IOC’s invites.

The 2024 Paris Olympics will be held from July 26 to August 11, with the tennis competition taking place from July 27 to August 4 at Roland Garros, the venue of the French Open.

 

Source: SCMP

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