Ukraine Paralympic contingent, comprising 20 athletes, has not reached Beijing
with the Games opening at the end of the week, the International Paralympic
Committee (IPC) said Monday.
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the IPC spokesperson Craig Spence is still hopeful of Ukrainian athletes
competing in the Paralympic Games and participating in Friday’s opening
ceremony. Spence, however, refused to disclose the team’s whereabouts, citing
safety concerns and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
in regular dialogue with Ukraine about their participation at the Games, and
we’re working hard behind the scenes to get them here,” Spence told news agency AP in an interview.
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said there were no flights out of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. In addition,
flights entering China for the Paralympics — as well as for the just-closed
Olympics — can originate only from a few designated hub airports.
is part of China’s severe “closed-loop system” for the Olympics and
Paralympics, which limits athletes, staff and journalists to designated hotels,
venues, and a media centre with no contact with Beijing and its 20 million
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several reason we are not confirming their location or providing specific
updates,” Spence said. “The health and welfare of the delegation is our No. 1
priority. The less said about where they are, the better.”
said some of Russia’s athletes had arrived, but he did not exactly know how
650 athletes from 49 delegations, including Ukraine, are expected for the
Paralympics, which open Friday and close on March 13.
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Beijing Winter Olympics drew 2,900 athletes from 91 delegations. It closed on
from Ukraine and elsewhere have sent an open letter to Olympic and Paralympic
leaders, asking them to suspend the Russian and Belarusian Olympic and
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said the IPC board, which has no Russian or Ukrainian members, would meet
Wednesday to tackle that and other questions. As of now, Russian athletes are
expected to compete.
athletes will not represent Russia but represent the Russian Paralympic