Russian Paralympians have been invited to China ©Getty Images

The Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) has said its athletes have been invited to China after the COVID-19 pandemic, as the close relations between the nations continue despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

RPC secretary general Andrey Strokin said he had received a letter from Chinese Paralympic Committee (CPC) President Zhang Haidi confirming the offer.

Russian Paralympians were prevented from competing in China last month, with athletes forced to return home on the eve of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) had initially planned to allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete neutrally at the Games, before performing a U-turn.

The IPC said threats of boycotts from National Paralympic Committees forced the organisation to change their initial decision.

The decision has largely been replicated across sport, with the International Olympic Committee recommending that International Federations stop Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating at major competitions due to the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has touted hosting a series of joint events with China in recent weeks, a topic discussed by the nation’s respective Olympic Committees in an online meeting on Tuesday (April 12).

Strokin, a five-time Paralympic gold medallist in swimming, said the RPC was preparing proposals for Chinese athletes to participate in sporting events held in Russia.

The RPC official has said plans have been made to hold 30 competitions in Russia to date "with the participation of athletes from friendly countries."

Strokin said the RPC was working with the Russian Ministry of Sports and National Federations to increase the number of all-Russian competitions, invitations to athletes from friendly states, and increase the number of Russian Championship stages in team sports.

Ensuring the participation of Russian athletes in competitions held in "friendly states", joint events, and a "Summer Paralympics" to replace the IWAS World Games this year are also being discussed.

Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan have been viewed as potential participants in the event.

Russia hosted a similar event during the Paralympic Games in the Siberian city of Khanty-Mansiysk.

The Russian Paralympic Committee was excluded from Beijing 2022 following the invasion of Ukraine ©Getty Images
The Russian Paralympic Committee was excluded from Beijing 2022 following the invasion of Ukraine ©Getty Images

"The measures will ensure that preparations for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris and the 2026 Paralympic Winter Games in Cortina D'Ampezzo are not disrupted, for which we are preparing despite all restrictions," Strokin said.

"The Russian Paralympic Committee believes that in the context of external sanctions pressure and the holding of sports competitions on the territory of the Russian Federation, it is necessary to amend the legal documents of the Russian Ministry of Sports that regulate the holding of sports competitions on the territory of the Russian Federation with the participation of foreign athletes.

"The Russian Paralympic Committee fully supports the plans of the Ministry of Sports for financial incentives for athletes, coaches and specialists of sports teams during the period of suspension from participation in official international competitions.

"Under the current circumstances, the issue of building sports facilities on the territory of the Russian Federation becomes even more acute given the cancellation of sports competitions and training camps abroad for all teams (Olympic, Paralympic, non-Olympic, Deaflympics).

"For summer Paralympic sports, there are problems associated with the excessive workload of federal sports bases by teams in Olympic sports and the use of these bases by Paralympic teams on a residual basis.

"For winter Paralympic sports in the country, out of six sports, there is a federal base only for the preparation of the sledge hockey team."

Strokin said there was an urgent need for specialised sports centres for athletics, swimming, shooting, cycling, biathlon, skiing and snowboarding, to help Russian Paralympians.

The RPC secretary general made the comments during a meeting with Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko.