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Russian tennis player Rublev turns down Paris invite, Medvedev accepts

The International Olympic Committee published an updated list of neutral athletes with 2021 US Open tennis champion Daniil Medvedev and women's world number 22 Ekaterina Aleksandrova among the 31 who had accepted.
Last Updated : 02 July 2024, 05:22 IST

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Tokyo doubles gold medallist Andrey Rublev and fellow tennis players Darya Kasatkina and Anna Kalinskaya are among 12 Russians and Belarusians who have turned down invitations to compete as neutral athletes at the Paris Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) published an updated list of neutral athletes on Monday with 2021 US Open tennis champion Daniil Medvedev and women's world number 22 Ekaterina Aleksandrova among the 31 who had accepted.

Athletes from Russia and Belarus, Moscow's closest ally in the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, are barred from the Paris Games except for the few who will compete as neutral athletes without flags or anthems.

The athletes have been carefully vetted by an IOC panel to ensure they have no connection to the military.

Russia has denounced the restrictions as discriminatory. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said the IOC was slipping "into racism and neo-Nazism".

World number six Rublev, women's world number 12 Kasatkina and number 18 Kalinskaya declined along with Tokyo singles silver medallist Karen Khachanov and Liudmila Samsonova, who had already turned down the opportunity to play.

US-based Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, who won a doubles gold and singles bronze in London in 2012, has accepted an invitation but Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka has not yet accepted or declined.

The Belarusian world number three pulled out of Wimbledon because of a shoulder injury on Monday and Russian Tennis Federation chief Shamil Tarpishchev said last month that Rublev would be skipping the Games for health reasons.

Gymnast Ivan Litvinovich, who won gold for Belarus in the trampoline in Tokyo three years ago, and Russian canoeist Alexey Korovashkov, a bronze medallist in London, were also among the athletes who have accepted the IOC's invitations.

The Paris Olympics take place from July 26-August 11 with the tennis tournament running from July 27-August 4 at Roland Garros, the home of the French Open.

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Published 02 July 2024, 05:22 IST

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