ROC President Stanislav Pozdnyakov believes there has been a "breakdown of the integrity of the Olympic Movement" ©NOCRB

Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) President Stanislav Pozdnyakov claims there has been a "breakdown of the integrity of the Olympic Movement" but remains hopeful that his country will "triumphantly return to the world stage".

Pozdnyakov’s comments came at the National Forum of Athletes, jointly staged by the ROC and the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus (NOCRB) in Belarusian capital Minsk.

More than 250 people reportedly attended the event where Pozdnyakov and NOCRB President Viktor Lukashenko gave speeches.

The joint meeting was staged as Russia and Belarus find themselves pushed into the sporting wilderness as an increasing number of organisations impose sanctions against the two nations in response to the war in Ukraine.

This includes the International Luge Federation, which barred Russian athletes from its events and removed officials from the country from elected positions.

The FIL’s Court of Arbitration overturned the decision to ban Russian lugers following a successful appeal by the Russian Luge Federation.

But the FIL has vowed to explore new ways to stop athletes from the nation competing.

Pozdnyakov highlighted the FIL situation when addressing the challenges facing Russia and Belarus in their bid to end their pariah status.

"The freed time from international competitions now needs to be devoted to fundamental things," said Pozdnyakov.

Minsk staged the National Forum of Athletes which reportedly saw more than 250 participants ©NOCRB
Minsk staged the National Forum of Athletes which reportedly saw more than 250 participants ©NOCRB

"This will be useful not only in the current moment, but also when we triumphantly return to the world stage.

"We clearly understand that the list of restrictions imposed on the NOCs [National Olympic Committees] and National Federations of Russia and Belarus is similar.

"In this regard, we are now paying special attention to the legal protection of our athletes.

"I am sure that joint actions in this work will have an effect.

"But, as you may have noticed from the example of the International Luge Federation, today the realities are such that even the decision of the Federation's own internal independent arbitration, as it turns out, is not binding.

"This is the first time we have seen this in practice.

"And in general, what we are seeing today can be regarded as a breakdown of the integrity of the Olympic Movement.

"We very much hope that the precedent when a separate sports federation violates the decision of its own arbitration will remain a single conflict."

Pozdnyakov said he was also delighted to see athletes from Russia and Belarus find a "common language" as he spoke of the importance of building bridges between the two nations.

NOCRB President Viktor Lukashenko insisted that
NOCRB President Viktor Lukashenko insisted that "in no case should we succumb to provocations from different sides" ©NOCRB

"I believe that our NOCs have accumulated a powerful potential for the implementation of all the plans, especially considering the powerful sports infrastructure in Russia and Belarus," said Pozdnyakov.

"We have great potential, an excellent base for sports infrastructure, a rich sports history and promising coaches who need to be developed."

Lukashenko also pledged to host a series of events in Belarus, ranging from "small tournaments to major international championships".

"There is only one recipe for success in times of crisis: while others are recovering, we are acting," added Lukashenko.

"This is the only way to truly adapt to change.

"Rebuilt, levelled their psychological state - and forward. 

"In no case should we succumb to provocations from different sides, but should rely only on common sense, our own strengths and like-minded people.

"I repeat once again the NOC of Belarus will continue to defend and protect the interests of all our athletes.

"As they say: whatever does not kill us makes us stronger."

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, supported by Belarus.

At least 2,829 civilians have bene killed in Ukraine since then, according to the United Nations, and in excess of 5.2 million refugees have fled the country.