The Ukrainian Judo Federation (UJF) announced its decision on Monday days ahead of the sporting event
Ukrainian judokas will not participate at the World Judo Championship 2023 in Qatar to protest the International Judo Federation’s (IJF) decision to allow Russia and Belarus to compete as “neutrals”.
The Ukrainian Judo Federation (UJF) announced its decision on Monday days ahead of the sporting event, scheduled to run between 7-14 May, pointing to the Russian and Belarusian athletes at the event.
“The majority of the team are athletes who are active servicemen of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, part of the army that attacked Ukraine on February 24, 2022 and is still waging a brutal full-scale war on our territory, which is shelling Ukrainian cities and civilian homes every day,” the UJF said.
In March, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that Russian and Belarusian players would participate in sports as “neutrals” following a ban imposed in response to the ongoing war on Ukraine.
Belarus is a key ally of Russia and was the launch point for the war on Ukraine, prompting sporting bodies to take a stance against Moscow and Minsk.
However, under the neutral participation, Russian and Belarusian athletes wore either only white uniforms or any other single colours without showing a logo or flag.
Its decision, which also comes ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, excluded athletes with military links or even those who supported the war. In response, Ukraine threatened to boycott the sporting event in the French capital.
“We see here a decision that contradicts the latest recommendations of the International Olympic Committee of March 28, 2023, where the IOC says that the status of neutral athletes can only be granted to those athletes who are not military personnel,” the UFJ said.
The UFJ also said it will send a letter signed by the President of the Ukrainian Judo Federation Mykhailo Koshlyak to the International Judo Federation on Monday.
As per policies by global sporting bodies, all host nations of events are required to grant access to athletes without discrimination to all venues.