Ukraine has announced its decision to boycott the upcoming world judo championships in Budapest, Hungary, after the International Judo Federation (IJF) allowed Russian and Belarusian competitors to participate as neutral athletes. This move comes as a result of Ukraine’s policy of boycotting international sports events involving athletes from Russia and Belarus following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Background and Controversy
The IJF’s decision to permit Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutral participants has sparked criticism and backlash. Ukrainian national team coach Vitaliy Dubrova expressed disappointment and confirmed the planned boycott, while mentioning that lobbying efforts would continue. Ukrainian judo champion Daria Bilodid strongly voiced her opposition on social media, denouncing the participation of military personnel from “a terrorist country” responsible for the killing of Ukrainians.
The IJF’s Position and Olympic Qualification
The IJF defended its stance by stating that allowing Russians and Belarusians to compete as neutral athletes with background checks ensures fair participation and equal opportunities for all judo athletes pursuing their Olympic dreams. While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommends the inclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutrals, it discourages the participation of military personnel or security forces. The IJF’s statement did not address this IOC recommendation or provide details on how the background checks would be conducted in time for the championships.
Previous Boycott and Potential Repercussions
This is not the first time the Ukrainian judo team has boycotted an event due to the inclusion of Russian athletes. In 2022, they boycotted an Olympic judo qualifier in Mongolia, leading to the IJF’s initial decision to exclude Russia and Belarus from competitions until the end of 2022. It remains to be seen if the IJF will reconsider its position or if there will be any repercussions from the Ukrainian boycott.
Another Sport’s Decision and Organizational Authority
While judo faces controversy, the International Canoe Federation (ICF) announced its decision to readmit some Russian and Belarusian athletes, provided they are unaffiliated with the military and have not publicly supported the war. However, the ICF also stated that local organizers of upcoming competitions hold the authority to veto their participation, prioritizing the safety of athletes and the successful implementation of ICF events.
The world judo championships, scheduled from May 7th to 14th in Doha, Qatar, will proceed with the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutral competitors. The Ukrainian team’s boycott serves as a symbol of their ongoing resistance against Russian aggression and highlights the complex issues surrounding the inclusion of athletes from politically embattled nations in international sports events.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the role of Vitaliy Dubrova in Ukrainian judo?
Vitaliy Dubrova is the national team coach of Ukraine in judo.
Who is Daria Bilodid and what are her achievements in judo?
Daria Bilodid is a Ukrainian judoka who has achieved significant success in the sport. She is a two-time world champion in judo.
What is the International Judo Federation (IJF)?
The International Judo Federation (IJF) is the governing body for the sport of judo at the international level. It organizes and regulates judo competitions, including the world championships.
What is the stance of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding Russian and Belarusian athletes?
The International Olympic Committee recommends allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals in events like Olympic qualifiers. However, they have urged sports bodies to exclude any athletes and coaches employed by the military or security forces.
What is the International Canoe Federation (ICF) and its position on Russian and Belarusian competitors?
The International Canoe Federation (ICF) is the international governing body for canoeing. They have indicated that they would allow Russian and Belarusian competitors unaffiliated with the military and those who have not publicly supported the war. However, local organizers of upcoming competitions would have the authority to veto their participation.