Georgian PM’s special representative for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, denied a report by breakaway South Ossetia that its leader, Leonid Tibilov, had been invited at the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympic Games.
“It was reported as if South Ossetian de factor leader is officially invited at the Sochi Olympic Games,” Abashidze told journalists on February 5. “Of course we have verified this information. The Russian Foreign Ministry, as well as the International Olympic Committee confirmed once again that only representatives and athletes of those countries are officially invited, which take part in the Olympic Games.”
“Of course everyone can arrive in Sochi or in any other city in an individual capacity,” he added.
“Anyway, if our team sees that reality on the ground is different from these statements, we reserve the right to take adequate decision in defense of interests of our Olympic team and the country,” Abashidze said.
He expressed regret that information reported by “the press office of illegitimate regime” was “hastily seized upon by one part of our political spectrum.”
No Georgian government member will be attending the Sochi Games. The Georgian team at the Sochi Olympic Games will include four athletes: three Alpine skiers – Nino Tsiklauri; Iason Abramishvili; Alexi Beniaidze, and a figure skater Elene Gedevanishvili, who competed at the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
In a written address to the Georgian athletes, released on February 5, PM Irakli Garibashvili says that participation in the Sochi Olympics “triggers special emotions, because the Olympic Games are held at the Georgian-Russian border in the vicinity of the occupied Abkhazia.”
“It was very hard to take decision to participate in these Olympic Games. But we took into consideration various factors and made the decision in benefit for the interests of the Georgian sport, our athletes and the Georgian state,” reads the address. “Georgian friends share this decision. It is inadmissible to politicize sports. By taking part in the Sochi Olympics, Georgia takes a step of good will towards the international community and the Olympic Movement in general.”