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Olympic Games 2024: IOC criticises ‘extremely aggressive’ Russian claims

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Russia’s response to a ban on its athletes from the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games has been “extremely aggressive”, says the International Olympic Committee.

The ruling body’s president, Thomas Bach, has also suffered personal attacks, it added.

Russian and Belarusian athletes were banned from taking part in the opening ceremony at the 2024 Games in Paris, by the IOC on Tuesday.

Russia has been critical of the IOC.

The country’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday the IOC had “slipped into racism and neo-Nazism”.

Athletes from Russia and Belarus were banned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but they can compete at the Games as neutrals.

That means taking part without flags, emblems or the anthems of their country.

Zakharova said adopting neutral status forced athletes to “renounce any association with their homeland, with their citizenship, with their history, culture and people”.

“The IOC’s decisions are wrongful, unjust and unacceptable,” she added.

But Bach responded: “There are more quotes coming from Russia which are extremely aggressive.”

IOC spokesman Mark Adams also added: “We have seen some very aggressive statements out of Russia today. One comment goes beyond that. Linking the president, his nationality and the Holocaust is unacceptable and reaches a new low.”

“Everybody who is following the rules is welcome in the Olympic movement,” said Bach.

“From the moment the Russian Olympic Committee follow the rules they are welcome. The ball is in their court.”



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Deontay Wilder: Ex-WBC world champion confident of Anthony Joshua fight

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Former WBC world champion Deontay Wilder tells BBC Sport he is “90%” sure a fight with Anthony Joshua will happen in the future, as he prepares to face Zhilei Zhang on 1 June.

READ MORE: Wilder says Joshua fight will be revived with big win over Zhang



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Taulupe Faletau: Wales number eight set for Cardiff return

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Taulupe Faletau back in training with Cardiff
Taulupe Faletau has played 14 games for Cardiff after joining from Bath in 2022

Cardiff and Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau is set to return to action after a six-month injury lay-off.

Faletau, 33, suffered a broken arm in Wales’ World Cup victory against Georgia in Nantes in October 2023 before missing this year’s Six Nations with a calf injury.

The British and Irish Lions Test star has since returned to Cardiff training.

Faletau is available for the United Rugby Championship (URC) trip to face Ulster on Friday night.

Faletau, who has played 104 times for Wales, returns to action with the summer tour to Australia on the horizon.

Head coach Warren Gatland has lost senior figures in Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, George North, Dan Biggar, Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb to international retirement in the last 12 months.

In Faletau’s absence, Cardiff back-row duo Alex Mann and Mackenzie Martin have been capped by Wales, while Aaron Wainwright has filled the national number eight role.



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Ross Molony: Leinster locks signs for Bath Rugby on three-year contract from 2024-25

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Ross Molony
Ross Molony has won four league titles and the European Champions Cup with Leinster

Bath have announced the signing of Leinster lock Ross Molony on a three-year contract.

The 29-year-old will join up with the Somerset club ahead of the 2024-25 season.

Molony has made 177 appearances for Leinster and has won four league titles and the European Champions Cup with the Dublin club.

Leinster are currently five points clear at the top of the United Rugby Championship table.

They face Premiership leaders Northampton Saints on Saturday, May 4, for a place in a third Champions Cup final in a row.

“Ross is a true professional and his journey in rugby is a testament to this,” director of rugby Johann van Graan told the club’s website.external-link

“His work ethic and leadership are some of his key characteristics and I believe he will play a huge part in our journey in the next number of years.”

Bath are currently second in the Premiership, five points behind Northampton.



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