Report Wire

News at Another Perspective

Elina Svitolina requires Russians to be banned from Olympics

3 min read
Elina Svitolina

Ukrainian tennis participant and Olympic bronze medalist Elina Svitolina pushed for a complete ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes from the 2024 Paris Games in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Svitolina, who received her bronze medal in singles on the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, is visiting Ukraine for the primary time since Russia invaded the nation final yr. She is the newest to name for a whole ban on athletes from Russia and Belarus due to the conflict.

“It’s going to be very sad, and the wrong message would be sent to the world if Olympics going to stay with the decision to put them (Russia and Belarus) under a neutral flag,” Svitolina mentioned within the interview.

“I don’t think this is the right decision.” Svitolina, who had a child with husband Gael Monfils in October, mentioned sports activities and politics in Russia are inseparable.

“You can see that in Russia, sports are connected to the government,” Svitolina mentioned.

On Friday, Ukraine’s sports activities minister renewed a menace to boycott the Paris Olympics if Russia and Belarus are allowed to compete and mentioned Kyiv would foyer different nations to hitch.

A Ukrainian Olympic Committee assembly didn’t decide to a boycott however accepted plans to attempt to persuade worldwide sports activities officers within the subsequent two months — together with a dialogue of a attainable boycott. The leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania additionally urged the International Olympic Committee to ban Russia and mentioned a boycott was a risk.

Speakers on the Ukrainian Olympic Committee’s assembly raised issues about Russia utilizing the Paris Games for propaganda and famous the shut ties between some athletes and the Russian navy.

“Boycott would be one of the options because obviously what Russian army is doing to Ukrainian people, to Ukraine, it’s a horrible thing for us,” Svitolina mentioned.

“I cannot imagine going to the Olympics like nothing is happening to Ukraine.” Svitolina mentioned the choice to boycott must be mentioned with the nation’s Olympic committee with enter from each Ukrainian athlete concerned. She, nonetheless, didn’t hesitate to say what she thought was the fitting factor to do.

“Our men and women are at the front line right now fighting Russian soldiers and dying for our country and for our freedom as well,” Svitolina mentioned.

“And I’m very firm with my decision that boycotting is the right way to do it.” After a month-long break, Svitolina mentioned she is “actively preparing” to return to tennis in April. Her first go to to Ukraine marks the longest time she has been separated from her daughter.

“Of course, I want to be with her, but I have a bigger mission to do for free Ukrainian people,” mentioned Svitolina, who got here to the nation as an envoy of United 24, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s platform for accumulating charitable donations.

During her transient keep, she additionally met Zelenskyy.

On Tuesday, Svitolina visited certainly one of Kyiv’s maternity facilities to donate a generator, wanted to help the operation of the hospital. Hospitals within the nation have usually been disrupted by large Russian missile assaults on Ukraine’s power infrastructure.

She mentioned this week’s go to triggered the emotions she felt on the primary days of the invasion.

“It was extremely stressful for me. I was still playing on the tour then, competing at some tournaments. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t live my life normally. It was a horrible time for me,” she recalled.

“Visiting the maternity center really reminded me what I was going through and how strong these women are.” Originally from Odesa, which now suffers frequent energy outages due to broken electrical energy infrastructure, Svitolina mentioned February 24 — the date that can mark one yr for the reason that invasion began — will endlessly be a tragic day for each Ukrainian.
“This is something that you would never wish your enemy to face,” Svitolina mentioned. “It’s a very sad day.”