Moscow/SANA- A policy of aggressive sanctions against Russian athletes is in stark contradiction to the basic principle of ‘sports beyond politics,’ Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
“The onslaught of sanctions, launched against our country and our citizens, has affected numerous spheres, including elite sports,” President Putin said in his welcome address to participants of the international sports forum “Russia – A Sports Power,” which is being held in the Siberian city of Kemerovo between September 28 and 30.
“In fact, Russian athletes have been stripped of the right to represent their country, while Russia’s stance in relevant global [sports] organizations is being internationally ignored,” Putin noted. “Such a situation contradicts the values of sports, with the basic one stipulating mutual respect and the principle of ‘sports beyond politics’.”However, Putin continued, Russia will always remain “a hospitable and welcoming country, where open competitions for representatives of different countries are held and where the ideals of Olympism are honored.”
The Russian president confirmed the state authorities’ drive to carry on with the development of sports infrastructure in all regions across the country and to upgrade the system of selection, training and support of talented youth as well as to do everything necessary to maintain a talented coaching staff and best traditions of the national sports coaching institution.
Putin also pointed out the fact that this year’s international sports forum is hosted by Kuzbass, “the region, which brought the world numerous Olympic champions, winners of major sports tournaments, and is deservedly known for its sports traditions.”
The president expressed his hope that the forum participants would come to an agreement regarding certain initiatives and proposals that would be in practical demand and serve to protect athletes’ rights, to strengthen global humanitarian protection and promote the fitness movement and a healthy lifestyle.