"We had to take protective measure with regard to Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials participating in international competitions by recommending their non-participation. The time to lift these measures has not arrived," the IOC President said.
He also stressed the importance of protecting the mission of the Olympic Movement: “because this mission is in your hearts, because this mission is why you started your careers in sports administration. This mission is to unite the world in peaceful competition. And this mission is even more important in our so fragmented world.” He then concluded: "Our mission is a humanitarian mission, and this humanitarian mission we can only accomplish if we stand above and beyond political difference and all differences, either political, cultural or sports.”
While in Skopje, the IOC President met the President of the Republic of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski. The two leaders discussed the current international situation and the upcoming editions of Olympic Games.
Upon his arrival in Skopje, President Bach attended an Olympic Day event, where he joined thousands of children, and many athletes and coaches. One of the athletes present was Dejan Georgievski, who won the first silver medal for North Macedonia, in taekwondo, at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
He was then given a tour of the NOC headquarters by the NOC President, Daniel Dimevski, and had the opportunity to meet some top athletes. Also on the presidential agenda were an Olympic Solidarity course for coaches and athletes in sport climbing, and the opening of a sports laboratory.
President Bach also attended the EOC gala dinner, during which the 7th winter edition of the Piotr Nurowski “Best Young European Athlete” Prize was awarded to Slovenian ski jumper Nika Prevc.
From Skopje, President Bach travelled to Tirana, Albania, where he attended the official inauguration of the Albanian NOC headquarters, in the presence of the NOC President, Fidel Yli; the Prime Minister, Edi Rama; the Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj;and the NOC Executive Committee and staff.
Earlier, the President had a meeting with Prime Minister Edi Rama, during which the two men discussed the current geopolitical situation. They also spoke about the situation of sport in the country, and the IOC’s support through Olympic Solidarity to promote sports development, particularly in schools. Earlier, he met the Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj. He was accompanied throughout by the President of the Albanian NOC, Fidel Ylli.
At an Olympic Day event in Tirana, the IOC President met hundreds of schoolchildren taking part, and watched a number of sports demonstrations by local children. He also attended an exhibition of children’s paintings created during Olympic Days across the country.
During the visit, President Bach, accompanied by Sergii Bubka, also met a number of Ukrainian athletes who have now been staying in Albania for more than a month, and are continuing their training in the city of Elbasa. The IOC will provide the athletes with sports equipment and other support. At the event, the Ukrainian athletes received strong support from the local population.
Earlier in the week, the IOC President addressed the General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), which took place in Lausanne. In his speech, the President thanked the ASOIF members for their excellent cooperation in the run-up to and during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. He also reiterated the IOC’s position on the current situation in Ukraine. This position was fully supported by all the ASOIF members.
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