MOSCOW, October 6. /TASS/. The decision of the International Boxing Association (IBA) to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in competitions is very good news, the Russian sports authorities should continue to protect the interests of national athletes, who ought to have the right to compete in international competitions, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
"Of course, this is very important, very positive news," he told reporters on Thursday. "We see that, unfortunately, this is still a very rare example of a federation that manages to defend the interests of our athletes," Peskov stated.
"This is not a reason to become complacent. On the contrary: only an additional impetus for our sports authorities to continue their efforts to defend the interests of our athletes," the Kremlin Spokesman said. "Our athletes, at the highest levels, can and must have the right to compete in international competitions, we must fight for it," Peskov pointed out.
On October 5, the IBA allowed Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part in international competitions. Also, boxers from these countries are allowed to compete under the national flag and national anthem. Head of the Russian Olympic Committee Stanislav Pozdnyakov welcomed the IBA decision but stressed that it was important to wait for the initiative to be implemented in practice.
On February 28, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that international sports federations should not allow Russian athletes to take part in competitions due to the situation in Ukraine. Many sports federations agreed with the recommendation, and Russia was also deprived of the right to host a number of tournaments in various sports. On March 4, the IBA banned Russian athletes from participating in international sports tournaments under the association’s auspices.