— Published 4 April 2023

Polish president closes door on Russian athletes

The Poles are taking the lead. They have already announced it as a certainty: Russian and Belarusian athletes will not be present at this year’s European Games, scheduled from 21 June to 2 July in Krakow and the Malopolska region. The head of the organising committee, Marcin Nowak, made this clear last week in a radio interview, explaining that athletes from both countries would not be present “under any circumstances and in any way”. On Monday 3 April, the same position was shared by the Polish head of state himself. Visiting Rome for the lighting ceremony of the European Games, Andrzej Duda (pictured above) also raised the subject, leaving no room for doubt. “I would like to thank you all for deciding that they (the European Games) will take place without the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes,” he said. “In two days I will welcome (Ukrainian) President Volodymir Zelensky to Poland. I will be able to tell him that these will be Games of peace and calm, at which we will not have to pretend that everything is fine“. The Association of European Olympic Committees (EOC), the umbrella body of the continental event, has not yet officially expressed its opinion on the question of Russian and Belarusian participation in the 2023 European Games in Poland.