OCA  Acting President Randhir Singh said it was "up to [Russia] what they would like to do in the future" ©Hangzhou 2022

Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Acting President Randhir Singh has suggested that the door remains open for Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in events run by his organisation after they were denied the chance to compete at the Asian Games here.

Singh said it was "up to them what they would like to do in the future" after highlighting that Russia shares a larger border with Asia than Europe.

Space for up to 500 athletes from Russia and Belarus had been allocated by the OCA for the Asian Games in Hangzhou following a vote at the organisation’s General Assembly in Bangkok in July.

But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) blocked the move, claiming "it was not feasible due to technical reasons".

Speaking at a press conference at the Asian Games today, Singh insisted that Russia and Belarus would have been "most welcome" in Hangzhou but admitted it was not possible after the IOC’s ruling.

"We made an offer to the IOC and the logistics could not be worked out," said Singh.

"The Chinese Organising Committee had organised 500 places for them to come but unfortunately the logistics didn't work out otherwise they would have been most welcome for us.

The IOC ruled that it
The IOC ruled that it "was not feasible" for Russia to compete at the Asian Games which officially opened yesterday ©Getty Images

"Russia has huge borders with Asia.

"I think they have a larger border running along Asia than they have towards Europe so it is up to them what they would like to do in the future."

Russian and Belarusian athletes were unable to compete at the European Games in Kraków-Małopolska earlier this year due to the invasion of Ukraine.

The Olympic Summit, chaired by IOC President Thomas Bach, agreed last December to follow up a proposal by the OCA to enable athletes from Russia and Belarus to take part in its competitions.

The plans received criticism with several sports in Hong Kong raising fears that it could deprive Asian athletes the opportunity to qualify for Paris 2024, even though Russians and Belarussians would not have been eligible for medals at Hangzhou 2022.

Russian Olympic Committee President Stanislav Pozdnyakov also questioned in July his country’s possible participation at the Asian Games due to the prospect of organisational, financial and logistical issues.