Paralympic gold medalist Richard Whitehead and Paralympic powerlifter Ali Jawad appeared on Thursday’s instalment of Good Morning Britain to have their say on the decision. They told ITV presenters Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard “the right decision has finally been made”. Richard went on to deplore the “disgusting behaviour” of some Russian athletes who “don’t actually think a war is going on”.
Susanna began: “Richard, sorry, can you just elaborate a little? Did you say you had heard about messages being passed from Russian Paralympians to Ukrainians?”
Richard replied: “Yeah, I have seen those [with] threats about bombing their families back at home and it’s terrible, it’s disgusting behaviour and it just shows the Russians and Belarusian athletes don’t actually think there is a war going on at home and how that affects not just the athletes but the Ukrainian community.
“We need to galvanise as athletes and promote this war needs to stop and sport is only a small part of what we do.”
When asked why it took the International Paralympic Committee a considerable amount of time to make this decision, Ali replied: “I think sport tries to be neutral.
“Unfortunately in this circumstance it is impossible to be neutral and we know Russia promotes sport in a way which favours their international agenda and that is why I was not in favour of them competing.”
However, he said he said the committee cannot allow anything like this to happen again.
The athlete exclaimed: “If their laws are not robust enough in extraordinary circumstances like this one then we have got a real problem.”
“However, by no fault of its own the war has now come to these games and behind the scenes, many governments are having an influence on our cherished event.
“The IPC is a membership-based organisation, and we are receptive to the views of our member organisations.”
He explained an “overwhelming” number of members contacted the committee overnight which he was “grateful” for.
“They have told us that if we do not reconsider our decision, it is now likely to have grave consequences for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games,” he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last Thursday and a million refugees have now fled to neighbouring countries.
Russia has been intensifying its attacks on major Ukrainian cities in recent days, with fighting raging in the south, east and north of the country.
On Thursday, Russian forces announced they have taken control of Kherson which is the first major Ukrainian to fall.
Good Morning Britain continues weekdays between 6am and 9am on ITV.
Published at Thu, 03 Mar 2022 08:06:00 +0000