Ukraine boycotts judo Olympic qualifier as Russians compete


ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (AP) — Ukraine has begun a boycott of worldwide judo occasions as a result of the Russian crew was allowed to compete as Olympic qualification started on Friday.

Judo is likely one of the few Olympic sports activities by which Russians can nonetheless compete, although they have to accomplish that with out their flag and are formally representing the International Judo Federation. That goes in opposition to the needs of the International Olympic Committee, which recommends excluding athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Until this week, Russia stayed away from worldwide judo occasions citing what the IJF termed “logistics and safety” issues, but it surely entered 24 athletes within the Grand Slam match in Mongolia which began on Friday. That’s the primary competitors which counts towards qualification for the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Ukraine is staying away in protest.

“Everybody who follows world sport a small way understands that Russian athletes are a key part of this country’s aggressive propaganda politics,” Ukrainian Judo Federation president Mykhailo Koshliak wrote in an open letter dated Thursday.

“Speaking of Russia and sport, it is by no means possible to say that ‘sport is out of politics.’ The silence of Russian and Belarusian athletes and coaches supports the war against Ukraine and kills thousands of Ukrainian citizens.”

Koshliak alleged 11 of the Russian crew competing in Mongolia had been “active representatives of the Russian Armed Forces” and held army ranks. They embody Madina Taimazova, who was congratulated by the Russian Defense Ministry in a press release after she received a bronze medal on the Tokyo Olympics final yr, together with her rank listed as that of warrant officer.

The IJF has argued it’s stopping discrimination by permitting the Russians to proceed competing and mentioned on Thursday it might punish any athlete who shows “political vindication or unsportsmanlike attitude.”

“The International Judo Federation is against war, against any kind of violence, as well as hate and discrimination,” IJF normal director Vlad Marinescu mentioned in a press release. “Sport is not politics, sport is a bridge between different cultures. Our values are the values of sport, where there is no room for politics.”

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