Russian Olympic champion cites ‘positive direction’ on Paris hopes — RT Sport News

Olympic gymnastics champion Angelina Melnikova pointed out “positive developments” in the debate surrounding the participation of Russian athletes in the Paris 2024 Games, expressing the hope that she and her compatriots will be allowed to compete despite the current bans.

Melnikova played the starring role when the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) won gold in the women’s team event in Tokyo last summer, and also won two bronze medals in the individual all-around and floor exercises.

But the 22-year-old’s hopes of repeating that success in Paris in two years are in jeopardy due to sweeping bans imposed on Russian sport due to the conflict in Ukraine.

Some Olympic officials such as former World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) chief Craig Reedie have previously suggested athletes from Russia and Belarus could be missed in Paris as they are not allowed to compete in qualifying events leading up to the Games.

Elsewhere, however, US Olympic official Susanne Lyons claimed last week that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was already surveying members regarding a possible “path” return to competition for Russian athletes.

Tokyo gold medalist Melnikova said that while Russian athletes were forced to compete under neutral status – as they were at the 2020 Summer Games and PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games in because of the WADA sanctions – it would be better than not participating at all.

“We really hope to be admitted to the Olympics, because it is not the first time that we have performed without a flag or an anthem,” he added. said Melnikova, who is also her sport’s 2021 all-around world champion.

“We hope for positive progress. We are waiting for the end of the year. There are discussions, we seem to be going in the right direction.

“There is hope for Paris, we no longer train for anything” Melnikova told Metaratings.

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Fellow Olympic champion Artur Dalaloyan – who helped Russia win gold in the men’s team event in Tokyo – described the current sanctions as “absurd,” but as Melnikova expressed hope that the situation would be resolved before the Paris Games.

“I am an athlete, my job is to show my work at the highest level. With or without a flag, I don’t care. Everyone knows perfectly well that I represent Russia,” said the 26-year-old.

“Some people think it is not necessary to go [to the Olympics] without a flag, but I think you have to go. I will go out and defend the honor of the country, fight for victories.

“We work tirelessly. This whole situation is absurd, but we have hopes of going to the Paris Olympics.

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“We are only striving for this. Of course, this situation will not subside quickly, stories like this have never passed quickly,” added the triple world champion.

After the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) imposed a blanket ban on Russian athletes in March, Russian officials decided to stage alternative national events to compensate – including the relaunch of the ‘Spartakiad’ games from the soviet era.

Dalaloyan commended officials for their efforts, saying: “I want to highlight the great work of our Ministry of Sports, the Russian Gymnastics Federation – they organize tournaments, they brought back the Spartakiad. Russian athletes are motivated, despite the times we are living in right now.


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