IOC suspends Belarus president Lukashenko from Olympic Games

Lausanne, Dec 8 (AP):

 The IOC suspended the authoritarian president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, from all Olympic activities including the Tokyo Games next year.

Lukashenko, who has led the Belarus Olympic Committee for 23 years, claimed a sixth presidential term after a state election in August widely viewed as rigged in his favor.

Belarus has since been in turmoil amid protests and a crackdown by security forces, and the International Olympic Committee has investigated complaints from athletes that they faced intimidation.

IOC president Thomas Bach said after a board meeting on Monday that the Belarus Olympic body’s current leadership has not appropriately protected Belarus athletes from political discrimination within sports organizations in the country.

Victor Lukashenko, the president’s son and first vice president of the Belarus Olympic committee is also provisionally suspended, Bach said.

The IOC will continue to help fund Belarus athletes preparing for upcoming Olympic Games by paying scholarship money directly to them.

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