Ukraine athletes forbidden to compete with Russian and Belarus

Despite Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) authorized Russian and Belarussian athletes to compete as neutrals.

Thomas Bach in a file photo (Image Credits -
By Abhiruchi Rout | Apr 14, 2023 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

The national sports teams of Ukraine are not permitted to compete in Olympic, non-Olympic, or Paralympic competitions where competitors from Russia and Belarus are present, according to a regulation published by the Ukrainian Ministry of Sports of the nation on Friday. Some Ukrainian athletes have criticized the decision, claiming that it will lead to the demolition of Ukrainian sports. Ukraine had already warned its sports federations that if Ukrainian athletes competed on the international stage with Russians and Belarusians, their status as regulating organizations would be terminated.

Despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) authorized Russian and Belarussian athletes to compete as neutrals. The ongoing confrontation between Ukraine and Russia has been going on for 14 months. Thousands of people have died, cities have been destroyed, and millions of people have been displaced as a result of the war. Matviy Bidnyi, the deputy minister of sports, signed the order, which was then posted online by the sports ministry. The ban applies to any competitions involving Russian or Belarussian athletes, regardless of whether they are Olympic, Non-Olympic, or Paralympic events. Athletes from Ukraine who break the ban risk losing their citizenship.

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What did the Critics have to say?

Critics of the ban claim that it will isolate Ukraine’s sports and limit the country’s athletes’ ability to compete at the top levels. Some competitors, such as Olympic skeleton racer Vladyslav Heraskevych, have stated that not competing would allow Russian and Belarusian competitors to spread their narratives and propaganda. The IOC imposed sanctions on Russia and Belarus for their participation in the conflict, but in late March, it suggested that their athletes be let to participate in international competitions as neutrals. Furthermore, it made it possible for them to earn a spot in the Olympics in Paris 2024, the following year.

International sports federations that have kept/lifted their ban on Russian and Belarus athletes

Since the International Olympic Committee allowed the participation of Russian and Belarus athletes as neutrals, the sport governing body for Fencing (FIE), Taekwondo (World Taekwondo), Table Tennis (International Table Tennis Federation or ITTF), and Triathlon (World Triathlon) are a few that have permitted these two countries’ athletes to participate. While organizations like FEI (International Fencing Federation) and World Athletics have not changed their decision regarding Russian and Belarus athletes. As a result, their ban won’t be lifted.

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