Ukrainian tennis star Elina Svitolina, who advanced to the semifinals of this year’s Wimbledon tournament, is a representative for the United24 platform, which President Zelensky of Ukraine created to gather money for the country’s reconstruction.
Ukrainian tennis champion Elina Svitolina has called for a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in this year’s Wimbledon and the Paris Olympics because “innocent Ukrainians are still being killed.”
Wimbledon has not yet stated whether or not the previous year’s ban would be reinstated.
As of right now, the International Olympic Committee is “exploring a pathway” to admit Russia and Belarus to the 2024 games.
In other words, the conflict is still active. Svitolina, who made it to the semifinals of Wimbledon this year, said the decision shouldn’t be any different.
Whether or whether the ban on Russian and Belarusian players would be enforced at this year’s tournament has not yet been announced by the All England Lawn and Tennis Club, which organises Wimbledon.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) were both penalised financially and had the tournament’s ranking points taken away for barring participants in 2018.
Aryna Sabalenka, the reigning champion of the Australian Open from Belarus, has stated that “no-one supports war,” but she has also stated that she has “zero power” over Belarusian politics and “cannot do anything” to stop the war.
Andrey Rublev, ranked fifth in the world, stated that another Wimbledon suspension “would be the worst for tennis.” Last year, Rublev made a peace appeal by writing “no war please” on a television camera after a match.
I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll uphold the ban too. “I don’t think it should change,” Svitolina, who is making her comeback from maternity leave and was ranked third in the world before giving birth, told BBC Sport.
“Russian soldiers are still shooting innocent Ukrainians, and civilians are still suffering.”
Saying, “The white flag of neutrality isn’t doing anything,”
Athletes from Russia and Belarus may be able to compete in the Paris 2024 Olympics under a neutral flag, the International Olympic Committee said last week.
It has been threatened that Ukraine will not participate in the Olympics if this happens. Kamil Bortniczuk, Poland’s minister of sport and tourism, has indicated that as many as 40 countries are considering joining them.
Svitolina, who placed third in the women’s singles competition at the 2020 Olympics, remarked, “I don’t think the neutral flag is changing anything.”
There are many calls for keeping sports out of politics, yet in Russia, sports play a significant role in the political system.
The decision to boycott would send the wrong message, so I hope we don’t have to make it.
The 28-year-old Svitolina wondered aloud why athletes are exempt from sanctions while ordinary Russian and Belarusian citizens who oppose the war are.
So why is this one different? Because of the actions of their governments, we must impose sanctions on the people of Russia and Belarus. “In my opinion,” she proclaimed.
“I don’t have anything personal against any athletes. What other options do we have for ending this war, though?
Russian and Belarusian citizens deserve maximum sanctions for the actions of their governments in Ukraine.
These governments will be deterred from continuing their current policies due to the penalties.
“Low electricity forces 85-year-old grandma to trek up 13 levels.”
Svitolina said she wants to use her platform as one of Ukraine’s most recognised athletes to make sure people across the world are “not forgetting” about the war and its consequences as the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches on February 24.
Svitolina is a part of the United24 fundraising platform that was established by President Volodymyr Zelensky. Other ambassadors include former Ukraine football captain Andriy Shevchenko and heavyweight boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk.
The donations are being used to repair buildings and facilities across the country.
Ukraine reports that 27,000 structures have been destroyed in the Kyiv area, including numerous hospitals and ambulances.
Odesa, where Svitolina was born, has been repeatedly bombed by Russian missiles as Russia aims at Ukraine’s power grid.
When she was in her teens, she went to Kharkiv to hone her tennis skills. The second largest city in Ukraine has been under constant bombardment, but last year, Russian forces were successfully pushed back from the city.
It’s heartbreaking to see the major cities decimated,” Svitolina added.
In the words of one of my contacts there: “When I speak to my friends there, they are not thinking about the sad moments or what it was before; they are simply thinking about how they can win, overcome the enemy, and look to the future of how we can restore cities and the country.”