More sporting bodies sanctioned Russian and Belarusian athletes on Tuesday over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the governing bodies for badminton, rowing and skiing banning athletes from the two countries from international competition.
Since the start of what Russian President Vladimir Putin has called “a special military operation” last week, sports bodies across the world have already moved against Russia and Belarus by refusing to host or play against teams from the countries. Belarus has been a key staging area for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
On Monday, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) executive board recommended sports federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from competing in events. The badminton federation’s (BWF) move comes a day after it canceled tournaments in Russia and Belarus.
The BWF said the ban on athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus would start at the German Open from March 8-13, but it is allowing Russian players to compete at two Para badminton tournaments in Spain this week as they have already arrived at location. “These players, however, will compete as neutral athletes, with no national flags or anthems,” the BWF added.
World Rowing banned Russia and Belarusian athletes and officials from its international competitions with immediate effect and until further notice. “The World Rowing strongly condemns the Russian military invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing violation of the Olympic Truce,” the governing body said.
The International Ski Federation (FIS) said its council had voted unanimously to follow the IOC executive board’s recommendations. “With immediate effect, no Russian or Belarusian athlete shall participate in any FIS competition at any level through the end of the 2021-2022 season,” FIS said in a statement.
Swimming’s world governing body FINA, which on Sunday called off the World Junior Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia, said on Tuesday that Russian and Belarusian athletes would now only compete as neutral athletes or neutral teams. “No national symbols, colors, flags should be displayed or anthems should be played in international aquatics events which are not already part of the respective World Anti-Doping Agency sanctions for Russia,” FINA said.
It added that the FINA Order awarded to Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2014 has been withdrawn. On Monday, soccer governing bodies FIFA and UEFA suspended Russia’s national teams and clubs, making it likely the country will be excluded from this year’s men’s World Cup and the women’s Euro 2022 tournament.
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) also called for a complete ban on athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus, including from the Beijing Paralympics, which begins on Friday. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said on Sunday that it had taken ‘swift action’ to cancel all events in Russia indefinitely and that no ITF events would be held in Belarus for 2022.
The ITF was responding to calls by the Ukrainian Tennis Federation for it to immediately expel Russia and Belarus from the organization and ban Russia from team and individual tournaments. However, the sport’s two professional tours, the men’s ATP and women’s WTA, have not announced any action against Russia or Belarus so far.
Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina refused to play against Russia’s Anastasia Potapova at the Monterrey Open and said she would not play any Russians or Belarusians until the sport’s governing bodies implement the IOC’s recommendations. Other Ukrainian women’s tennis players, including Marta Kostyuk and Lesia Tsurenko, have urged the WTA to pull all tournaments from Russia.
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