For the first time, Russia was allowed to participate in an international tournament with its flag and anthem. But there is a nuance
On February 24, 2022, the Russian flag was raised at an international tournament for the first time since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. It happened on the other side of the planet - in Venezuela at the opening ceremony of the Bolivarian Alliance Games (ALBA Games), which will take place from 21 to 29 April. About 3,500 athletes from 11 countries will compete in 35 sports.
In addition to Russia and the host country, athletes from Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Saint Lucia are taking part in the competition.
48 Russian athletes will take part in competitions in table tennis, boxing, rhythmic gymnastics, trampolining, weightlifting, and beach volleyball.
The opening ceremony was attended by Russian Ambassador to Venezuela Sergey Melik-Bagdasarov and Deputy Sports Minister Alexei Morozov, who is leading the Russian delegation to the event.
"Russia has been invited to the ALBA Games as a special guest," insidethegames.biz quoted Melik-Bagdasarov as saying.
Russia's invitation was part of a sports agreement between the country and Venezuela signed in October 2021.
Much of the sporting world called for a ban on Russia after Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine last February, although the International Olympic Committee recommended that some athletes be allowed to return as neutrals.
In Russia, there was talk of creating new sporting events so that athletes from Russia could participate in some international tournaments, particularly for countries that are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
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