Russia’s Ambassador to China Igor Morgulov has revealed plans for a Summer Youth Games featuring athletes from both countries is set to be held in Chongqing in August.
Russian and Belarusian athletes have been largely frozen out of international sport since the invasion of Ukraine.
Russia and China reached a sporting agreement to stage more than 500 events in October last year, including a third Russian-Chinese Winter Youth Games in the Chinese province of Jilin in December 2022.
Former vice-minister of Foreign Affairs Morgulov succeeded Andrei Denisov as Russia’s Ambassador to China in September last year.
He claimed that sporting ties between both countries had been strengthened as the end of last year, and referenced the summer Russian-Chinese Youth Games in Chongqing, a sprawling municipality at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers in southwestern China with a population of more than 30 million.
“In December, the Sports Ministers of the two countries signed an action plan for the current year, which includes about 600 events in almost all sports,” Morgulov told the Chinese state-run China Central Television.
“Among the most striking, I would single out the summer Russian-Chinese Youth Games, which are planned for August this year in the city of Chongqing.”
Morgulov added that Chinese athletes would be welcome at an International University Sports Festival in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.
Russia’s official state news agency TASS has reported that 94 countries are expected to compete at the Festival.
Yekaterinburg had been due to host this year’s International University Sports Federation (FISU) Summer World University Games, but had its hosting rights suspended because of the war in Ukraine.
The Chinese city of Chengdu has stepped in to stage its delayed Games, having been unable to do so in 2021 or 2022 because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin has sought the presence of Russian athletes at the Games in Chengdu, but a decision is yet to be taken by FISU.
Matytsin is the elected President of FISU, but stepped aside in March 2021 following doping sanction against the country and has continued to delegate responsibilities to Swiss Acting President Leonz Eder.
Despite the war in Ukraine, Russia and China continued to enjoy a broadly cooperative relationship.
China is a member of the BRICS alliance with Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, and recently abstained from a United Nations General Assembly resolution urging Russia to withdraw troops from Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was only permitted to attend the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing following an invite from his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
Russia invaded Ukraine four days after the Closing Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in the Chinese capital, and Beijing was forced to deny suggestions that it had asked for what Moscow describes as a “special military operation” to be delayed until after the conclusion of the Games.
Source : IG