Ukraine pulls out of World Judo tournament over Russian and Belarusian participation

The Ukrainian Judo Federation has announced it will not send a delegation to the World Judo Championships in Qatar from 7-14 May because of the presence of Russian and Belarusian judokas.

The Ukrainian Federation says some of its athletes are also active soldiers.

The International Judo Federation (IJF) on Sunday gave the green light for the Russians and Belarusians to attend the world championships on condition that they do so individually and as neutral athletes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a training session with his country’s national judo team at the Yug-Sport Training Center in Sochi, Russia, on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019

But the Ukrainian Federation argued that the “majority of the Russian team is made up of athletes who are active soldiers in the army of the Russian Federation” which “continues to wage a brutal war against our territory”.

“More than 250 Ukrainian athletes gave their lives to defend the country, including judokas,” the Ukrainian federation said, adding: “We see neither neutrality nor equal treatment nor a ‘bridge to peace’ as the international federation says in its resolution on the participation of Russians and Belarusians in the world championships in Doha”.

Ukrainian judoka Daria Bilodid haa called the IJF’s decision to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes in Doha as “unacceptable”.

“All these people who are going to participate in the world championships are military,” the 2019 world champion and Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist said in a post on Instagram.

“It doesn’t make sense, does it?” 

Among the Russians registered for the world championships are Inal Tasoev, who competed at the World Military Championships in Paris in 2021. 

The president of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach said in March that Russian and Belarusian athletes would be able to “compete as neutral individual athletes” provided they did not “actively support the war in Ukraine”.

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