Opening Ceremony: Call for Peace as Ukraine’s Presence Keenly Felt at Winter Paralympics

On Friday, the opening ceremony for the 2022 Winter Paralympics was held in Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium, and the start of the Games was marked by the participation of the whole Ukrainian delegation.

Valeriy Sushkevych, head of the Ukrainian Paralympic Committee, called it a “miracle” that all of his country’s Para athletes were able to make it to Beijing for the Games.

Opening Ceremony: Call for Peace as Ukraine's Presence Keenly Felt at Winter Paralympics

While Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee, voiced his approval of Ukraine’s participation (IPC).

Although he did not specifically identify Ukraine or Russia, Parsons delivered a strong address in which he called for global peace and expressed his dismay at current wars.

Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many international sports organisations have banned Russian teams and individuals.

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Russia and Belarus ban — How Did it Come About?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin last week for violating the Olympic Truce by sending troops into Ukraine.

The Olympic Truce is a resolution that orders conflicts around the world to be paused for seven days before the Winter Olympics and seven days after the Winter Paralympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) “suggested” on Monday that Russian and Belarusian athletes be banned from participating in international athletic events.

Or permitted to compete as neutrals where the “short notice” of the decision would make a ban impracticable.

Pressure from the international Para sport community has forced the IPC to resort to harsher measures after president Andrew Parsons said this week.

That allowing Russian and Belarusian participation in Beijing, albeit as neutrals, was the “harshest possible punishment” at the governing body’s disposal.


There were supposed to be a record number of Para athletes (approximately 700) competing in the Winter Paralympics in Beijing this year.

But on the eve of the Opening Ceremony, most of the attention was focused on the 83 who would not be attending.

Because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) reversed its earlier decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in the Games.

Even though Russian and Belarusian competitors were planning to compete as neutrals.

The IPC claimed that criticism from teams and athletes prepared to compete in Beijing was “jeopardising the viability” of the Games and making the safety of athletes “untenable.” Thanks for read our Article Opening Ceremony: Call for Peace as Ukraine’s Presence Keenly Felt at Winter Paralympics.