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Russian minister rips sanctions: 'Robbing global sports of this potential like suicide’

Oleg Matytsin stressed that Russia has held tournaments that have been recognized as the best in history

KEMEROVO, September 29. /TASS/. The global sports community is well aware of the harm it has done to itself by extensively barring Russian athletes from international tournaments, Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said on Thursday.

"I'm sure the [sports] community comprehends the scope of the damage it has done to itself through its bans on competitions, by not allowing our athletes to compete," Matytsin said at the international forum called "Russia - A Sports Power," which is being held in the Siberian city of Kemerovo on September 28-30.

"We have held tournaments that have been recognized as the best in history. Robbing international sports of that potential is like committing suicide," he insisted.

On February 28, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued recommendations to international sports federations to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in international tournaments citing Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine as the reason.

Following the IOC recommendations in late February, the majority of global sports federations decided to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from all international sports tournaments.

In early August, IOC President Thomas Bach said in an interview with Germany’s Sport Bild that it was still too early to alter the IOC's February recommendations regarding Russia and Belarus. He said in particular "We still do not recommend inviting athletes from Russia and Belarus to tournaments. They still have no anthems, no flags, and no national colors."