— Published 8 February 2023

Oleg Matytsin has no more doubts

The issue is dividing the Olympic movement, but Russia has no doubt that the IOC will back down and recommend the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competitions. Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin (pictured above) has been repeating this without fatigue since the beginning of the year. And he no longer hides his optimism and confidence. “I have absolutely no doubt that we will get through this period with dignity,” he told a group of journalists on Tuesday 7 February. “We can already see how the international sporting community is looking for ways to get our athletes back on the international stage”. When? The former table tennis player and president of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) doesn’t know, but he seems to believe in a quick exit from the tunnel. “I hope, and I’m even sure, that it will happen in the near future,” added Oleg Matytsin. The IOC was cautious about suggesting a timetable for a possible return of athletes from both countries. But it could happen in two stages, with Asia opening a gap first, before a more global reintegration.