Russian and Belarusian athletes have been banned from competing at the 2022 World Judo Championships, which is taking place next month in Uzbekistan. This decision has been made because of the two countries’ war effort in Ukraine.
The International Judo Federation (IJF) made the announcement about the ban on Wednesday:
The Executive Committee of the International Judo Federation decided today, 21st September 2022, considering the current international circumstances and in order to ensure the protection of all athletes in the sport of judo, to not allow the participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus in international judo events until January 2023.
Before this decision, however, the IJF initially allowed the Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutral athletes. So, for months the athletes from these two countries were allowed to compete in many tournaments, although under the IJF flag and not their own.
However, this stance resulted in Ukrainian judokas boycotting a World Cup event in Mongolia in June. After that, they’ve threatened to do the same at the World Championships in Uzbekistan if Russian athletes were allowed to compete.
As a side note, this ban might also be considered as a blow to Russian president Vladimir Putin – who is a judo black belt and a longtime practitioner of the martial art. He even co-authored a book titled “Judo: History, Theory, Practice”, as well as released a judo instructional DVD in 2008.