The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has said that Russian and Belarusian athletes will not be able to take part in this month’s Summer Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, Russian Interfax news agency reported on 14 November (local time).ROC President Stanislav Pozdnyakov said that while the Organising Committee of the Asian Olympic Association (OCA) had invited Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part in the Hangzhou Games, the ROC had not received an invitation until just over a week before the start of the Games, adding that there was “no hope at all”.Up to 500 athletes from Russia and Belarus could have competed as neutrals at the Hangzhou Asian Games, which open on 23 November. In July, the OCA, which organises the Asian Games, officially approved the invitation to Russian and Belarusian athletes. The move was made to help Russian and Belarusian athletes qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics after they were banned from international competition for more than a year in the aftermath of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine since February last year. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had also recommended in March that Russian and Belarusian athletes who did not support the special military operations and were not affiliated with the military be allowed to compete as neutrals in international events .However, Pozdnyakov explained that the IOC’s refusal to recognise the OCA’s decision has left Russian and Belarusian athletes unable to compete at the Hangzhou Asian Games. Pozdnyakov said the ROC does not plan to boycott the Paris Olympics, which will take place from 26 July to 11 August next year. “We live in a free, democratic and prosperous country, so every athlete should be able to make their own moral choices,” he said, noting that Russia has a negative history of missing the Olympics for political reasons in 1980-1984. “We live in a democratic and prosperous country, so every 스포츠토토 athlete should be able to make their own moral choices,” he said.