Ukrainian judokas withdraw from 2023 World Championships over Russian and Belarusian participation

Ukrainian judokas withdraw from 2023 World Championships over Russian and Belarusian participation

The Ukrainian Judo Federation (UJF) has announced that Ukrainian judokas will not be participating in the 2023 World Judo Championships that will take place at the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena in Doha, Qatar, from May 7 to 14, 2023.

This follows the International Judo Federation’s (IJF) decision to allow Russian and Belarusian judokas to participate as neutrals. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had recommended the readmission of athletes from these countries as neutrals, but excluded those who supported the war or were contracted to military or national security agencies. The IJF claimed that it had enlisted an independent company to perform background checks and identify any such athletes.

However, the Ukrainian federation alleged that some Russian judokas registered for the championships were “active servicemen”, and therefore, the decision did not uphold neutrality or equal conditions. The UJF stated that it saw the decision as contradictory to the latest recommendations of the IOC and decided not to participate in the world championships.

Ukraine has barred its national sports teams from participating in events that include competitors from Russia and Belarus. In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, for which Belarus was a staging area for Russian troops. As a result, the IJF removed Russian President Vladimir Putin from his position as honorary president and cancelled a Grand Slam event in Kazan, Russia.

According to the IJF’s announcement on Tuesday, the 2023 World Judo Championships will feature the world’s top-ranking judo champions from five continents and 99 countries. It is expected to be a highly competitive and exciting judo event, with some of the world’s best judokas showcasing their skills and vying for the championship title.

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