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Russia, sidelined from world events, plans pre-Olympics games with South Africa, Brazil and others



South African president Cyril Ramaphosa arrives at Pulkovo International Airport to attend the 2nd Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia July 26, 2023 Jairus Mmutle/GCIS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY./File Photo

Russia, sidelined from many international sports events over the war in Ukraine, said on Thursday it would organise a competition next year for members of the BRICS alliance – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Speaking at the Russia-Africa Summit in St Petersburg, Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said athletes from BRICS countries would be invited to take part in the event in the southwestern Russian city of Kazan next June.

“We are developing new types of competitions,” RIA news agency quoted him as saying. “I stress again: we are not creating an alternative to the Olympic Games and so on. We are a self-sufficient country.”

The BRICS Games, which Matytsin said would feature 25 disciplines, will take place just a month before the start of the Olympics in Paris.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) in March issued a set of recommendations for international sports federations to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to return as neutrals after they were banned in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year


The IOC has yet to take a final decision on those athletes’ participation at the Paris Games, but IOC President Thomas Bach has said that they should not be punished for their governments’ actions.

Athletes from Russia and Belarus have been allowed to compete as neutrals at the Hangzhou Asian Games in China to help them earn points to qualify for the Paris Olympics, angering some countries that think they should not be granted a pathway to the Games.

Russian authorities argue that it is discriminatory to ban the country’s athletes from the Games and deprive them of their national symbols such as their flag or anthem.

Matytsin had previously announced Russia’s plans to relaunch the multi-sport World Friendship Games next autumn.

Those competitions were first organised in 1984 in the Soviet Union and eight other socialist states that boycotted the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.





Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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