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Sochi boycott will solve nothing, say Paralympic athletes

A BOYCOTT of the Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, which begin on March 7, will not help to improve the current situation, according to the members of Slovak Paralympic Committee.

A BOYCOTT of the Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, which begin on March 7, will not help to improve the current situation, according to the members of Slovak Paralympic Committee.

“The boycott of the Olympics in 1980 and 1984 in fact brought no solutions,” said head of the committee Ján Riapoš, as quoted by the Sme daily.

Riapoš added that it is up to each athlete how he or she will respond to the current situation, which has seen tensions escalate after Russian soldiers began occupying Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Media advisor of the Slovak Paralympic Committee Pavol Múdry believes that only Ukrainian athletes boycotting the games would have any meaningful impact.

“I assume that several politicians will refuse to attend the opening ceremony, but nothing more will happen,” Múdry told Sme.

Prime Minister Robert Fico has already informed that Education Minister Dušan Čaplovič will not attend the ceremony, while Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Peter Susko said it is too early to say whether Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák will attend, as reported by Sme.

According to Riapoš, the lives of Paralympic athletes are a warning for politicians that violence does not solve problems. Several of them paid for their participation in military conflicts in the regions from which they come, he explained.

“Maybe this is why the Paralympics could be a memento for politicians to take their wits and try to settle the conflict peacefully,” Riapoš told Sme.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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