World Athletics, the international governing body for track and field, voted Thursday to continue its ban on athletes from Russia and Belarus from participating in events.
The move by one of the most influential international sports federations in the Olympic movement is the latest sign that the push to keep Russia and Belarus out of the 2024 Olympics next summer in Paris has not ebbed, despite the hopes of leaders of the International Olympic Committee that it might. Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, had said earlier this year that he was hopeful that there might be a way to have athletes from Belarus and Russia compete at the Paris Olympics so as not to punish them for the policies of their leaders.
World Athletics and numerous other sports federations put a ban in place shortly after Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine 13 months ago, using Belarus as a staging ground.
“The death and destruction we have seen in Ukraine over the past year, including the deaths of some 185 athletes, have only hardened my resolve on this matter,” Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, said in a statement Thursday.
“The integrity of our major international competitions has already been substantially damaged by the actions of the Russian and Belarusian governments, through the hardship inflicted on Ukrainian athletes and the destruction of Ukraine’s sports systems,” said Mr. Coe, a former Olympic runner from Britain. “Russian and Belarusian athletes, many of whom have military affiliations, should not be beneficiaries of these actions.”
A spokesman for the I.O.C. declined to comment. The I.O.C. is expected to address the matter after an executive board meeting next week.
World Athletics did agreed to establish a working group to discuss under what conditions Russian and Belarusian athletes might be able to compete as individuals. In professional tennis, for example, players from Russia and Belarus have been largely allowed to compete individually, but their countries cannot take part in international competitions, such as the Davis Cup or the Billie Jean Cup, and athletes cannot be identified with their countries by flag or nationality.
Stanislav Pozdnyakov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee, has said that athletes from Russia and Belarus should be allowed to compete with no restrictions. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has personally lobbied the I.O.C. to prohibit Russians and Belarusians from participation, saying that allowing the athletes to compete under a neutral flag would not be enough punishment for their countries.
The question now is whether there will be any spillover effect from the decision from World Athletics and a similar decision by the International Ice Hockey Federation on Wednesday, to other sports and organizations.
In February, with the vast majority of European governments seemingly against allowing athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete in Paris next year, the I.O.C. searched for a way to have those athletes begin the process of qualifying for the Summer Games. During that period, the Olympic Council of Asia began to explore allowing Russia and Belarus to compete at the Asian Games, a continental championship scheduled for later this year in Hangzhou, China.
It is not clear whether that organization, which is made up of the national Olympic committees in Asia, will have to follow the World Athletics ban. Also, if athletes from Russia and Belarus do compete at the Asian Games while the ban is in place, it is not clear whether World Athletics, which runs the track and field competition at the Olympics, would accept their results.
More immediately, the Lawn Tennis Association, which oversees tennis in Britain, and the All England Club, which owns and organizes Wimbledon, appear poised in the coming weeks to announce that they will allow players from Russia and Belarus to compete this year after banning them from all tournaments in Britain last year.
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