Special Olympics Winter Games in Russia canceled

Kazan, Russia – The 2023 Special Olympics World Winter Games in the Russian city of Kazan have been canceled in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the event's governing body said on Friday.

Snowboarders and skiers are seen at the 2021 Special Olympics All-Russian Winter Sports Spartakiade in Kazan. The event was held to test Russia’s readiness to host the 2022 Special Olympics World Winter games.
Snowboarders and skiers are seen at the 2021 Special Olympics All-Russian Winter Sports Spartakiade in Kazan. The event was held to test Russia’s readiness to host the 2022 Special Olympics World Winter games.  © IMAGO / ITAR-TASS

The Kazan event for people with intellectual disabilities was due to be staged this year but was pushed back to January 21-27, 2023, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We can no longer ensure the effectiveness of the World Winter Games in Kazan or the safety of our athletes and community," a statement from Special Olympics International said.

"The horrific violence in Ukraine, the extensive sanctions implemented by the international community, and the uncertainty and fear being experienced around the world make it impossible to proceed."

Brazil to host 2027 Women's World Cup as Gaza overshadows FIFA meeting
Soccer Brazil to host 2027 Women's World Cup as Gaza overshadows FIFA meeting

The statement added that "persons with intellectual disability are suffering disproportionately, unfairly, and tragically in this war."

"We join our voices to millions around the world demanding peace and an end to violence immediately," it said.

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) meanwhile became the latest sports body to suspend athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus, according to a statement late Thursday.

"These exceptional measures were decided and issued in view of the extraordinary circumstances arising in Ukraine," the IWF said.

"They constitute preventive measures aiming at preserving the integrity of sport, the relationships between our members and between all the participants.

"They are also aimed at protecting the safety of all participants, including in particular the participants from the two above mentioned countries," The IWF said.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ITAR-TASS

More on Olympics: