Belarusian Paralympic team carries Russian flag in support of banned athletes

Belarusian Paralympic team carries Russian flag in support of banned athletes

Belarusian athletes carried the Russian flag during the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games to express solidarity with the Russian team, which was banned from the event. The protest went ahead despite a threat of sanctions from officials, RT reports.

The action took place during the parade of athletes on Wednesday. The flag appeared in response to the IPC’s decision to ban all Russian athletes from the Games, after the body cited the country's failure to comply with anti-doping rules.

The IPC, which confiscated the flag after the protest, is reportedly considering if further steps should be taken against Belarus.

Earlier, Azerbaijan's Ministry of Youth and Sports has officially rejected three Rio Paralympic Games licenses redistributed after the dismissal of the Russian team. "We perceived the IPC’s decision as unacceptable from the beginning, we do not accept these licenses. Given that the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro start today and the Russian Paralympic team was not admitted to these games, we officially renounce these three licenses," ministry spokeswoman said, Sputnik wrote.

As Trend reported, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Youth and Sports Azad Rahimov noted that he believes it is not right to ban Russian team’s participation at 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. “As we know, the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) banned Russian athletes from Paralympic Games. Their licenses have been distributed among athletes of other countries by means unknown for us,” Rahimov said at a press conference in Baku.

Recall that Russia’s ban from the Paralympic Games came after a report from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which cited the widespread use of performance enhancing substances by Russian competitors.