The IPC suspensions of Belarus and Russia were set aside following an appeal ©Getty Images

The National Paralympic Committee (NPC) of Belarus has welcomed the decision which saw its suspension from sport set aside and described its ban as "absurd".

Russia and Belarus were both suspended by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) at an Extraordinary General Assembly in November, amid the invasion of Ukraine.

However, the IPC Independent Appeals Tribunal upheld an appeal after ruling that the General Assembly should have considered the same supporting evidence it had received.

It means the issue will now be put before the next IPC General Assembly on September 28 and 29 in Bahrain, this time with the additional information and evidence available.

The suspension of the Belarus NPC has been set aside but its athletes remain banned ©Getty Images
The suspension of the Belarus NPC has been set aside but its athletes remain banned ©Getty Images

Athletes from the two countries will remain banned as this was a separate decision made by the IPC Governing Board in March last year.

Russia was initially suspended by 64 votes to 39, with 16 abstentions, while Belarus was suspended by 54 votes to 45 with 18 abstaining.

The IPC said it stemmed from the two nations' "inability to comply with their membership obligations under the IPC constitution". 

"This includes the obligations to 'ensure that, in Para sport within the Paralympic Movement, the spirit of fair play prevails, the safety and health of the athletes are protected, and fundamental ethical principles are upheld' and 'not to do anything (by act or omission) that is contrary to the purpose or objects of the IPC and/or that risks bringing the IPC, the Paralympic Movement, or Para sport into disrepute,'" the worldwide body added.

Elena Gvai, the chief specialist on international relations with the Belarus NPC, said claims had been made about the country's athletes participating "in support of military operations" after they competed in Sochi and Khanty-Mansiysk in Russia.

"This does not stand up to scrutiny, this is absurd," she said to Belarus news agency BelTA.

"Among the claims were also all sorts of suggestions that the Paralympians are under pressure from the state and have not publicly expressed their attitude to the conflict in Ukraine.

"Fortunately, the Independent Tribunal of the IPC thoroughly studied all aspects of the case, our documents and arguments and did not accept such and other far-fetched arguments, making an absolutely objective decision in favour of the Belarusian side. 

"It was very pleasant and once again emphasises our rightness. 

"True, it is bad that you have to prove obvious things and your innocence through various instances, including the courts."

Belarus NPC President Oleg Chepel said the events in Russia did not promote war and that the motto of the competitions was "We are together - sport".

"As a former athlete, I explained to foreign representatives who themselves have never been athletes that athletes need not only to train, but also to compete, this is the only way their skills grow," he said.

The IPC General Assembly will consider the suspensions again in Bahrain in September ©Getty Images
The IPC General Assembly will consider the suspensions again in Bahrain in September ©Getty Images

"I tell everyone I was born in Kyiv, many of our athletes and officials have relatives from Ukraine and now live there, how can we compete for the war? 

"I have always emphasised that sport is peace, it should unite people, and now they are trying to divide us."

Chepel said work to lift the ban on Belarusian athletes would continue.

He added that if the suspensions are kept in place in Bahrain, there would be the option of appealing through the German courts as the IPC is based in Bonn.

"They will come to Bahrain and must show their objective position," he said. 

The IPC claimed that the decision to lift the suspensions had been made on a "technicality".

IPC President Andrew Parsons said the organisation respected but disagreed with the Tribunal's decision.