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Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the opening ceremony of the first World Olympians Forum (WOF) in Moscow, on Wednesday. While addressing to the forum, Putin stated that it was very "symbolic" that World Olympians Forum was held in year of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the World Olympians Association which unites over 100 national associations and over 100,000 Olympians around the world. "It is actively engaged in the popularisation of sports, promotion of its constructive, positive values," Russian leader added. According to Putin, Russia "exactly" follows the Olympic Charter which both stipulates the "unacceptability" to use athletes for political purposes and "consistently supports the idea that sport is not politics." He went on to stress that the UN resolution entitled 'Sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace' included provisions aimed at supporting the autonomy of sports offered by Russia. "It is important to develop and adopt a separate resolution of the UN General Assembly which would finally confirm the principle of the de-politicisation of sports under international law," Putin said. President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, who also participated in the ceremony, praised Russian for "great organisation" and "warm welcome" during Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Russia was a "great" and "warm host" and had "wonderful volunteers," he said, adding that all, who have been there, "will never forget" it. Moreover, the participants signed a declaration which defines the basic principles of the organisation of the World Olympians Forum and opposes political interference in sports. The World Olympians Forum has been organised by the World Olympians Association and the Russian Olympic Committee and runs until October 22. Prince Albert II of Monaco as well as IOC Executive Board Member and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Vice President Sergei Bubka and many other prominent Olympians state officials participated in the event.
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