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Szijjarto: Olympics should be inclusive, avoid politics

The Olympics should be about sports and sportspeople, not politics, Peter Szijjarto, Hungary's foreign minister said on Tuesday during a visit to Fukuoka, Japan, adding that the losers of any Olympic boycott were sportspeople who trained hard throughout their lives and had nothing to do with political decisions.

“At a meeting with Ng Ser Miang, vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, we discussed the benefits of sports as a tool for peace and separating sports from geopolitics,” Szijjarto said on Facebook.

He said that a fully inclusive Olympics may greatly advance the peaceful settlement of conflicts, including the war in Ukraine.

Szijjarto noted that the boycott of communist countries during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics had robbed more than 100 Hungarian sportspeople of a chance to prove themselves.

“We Hungarians not only talk about sport’s power to create peace but also act on it, and it was in this vein that we offered an opportunity to the Ukrainian female handball national team to play a world championships qualifier and to the Belarusian football national team to play a European championships qualifier in Hungary,” he said. “And we continue to offer a venue for sports events that cannot be held in their original location because of the war.”

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