(Lausanne) The international rowing federation said on Wednesday that it will allow “a few” Russian athletes to compete in the World Championships in September, a crucial competition on the qualifying calendar for the Paris Olympics in 2024.
World Rowing mentioned that Russian and Belarusian athletes will be limited to single sculls, double sculls – two events that offer Olympic qualifying spots – and lightweight single sculls, which are not an Olympic event. They will also be able to take part in the single sculls and two pairs events in para-rowing. Russians will, however, be excluded from group events, such as the four sculls and the eight.
World Rowing added that Russian and Belarusian crews will not be able to display any national symbols, will be subject to “enhanced” anti-doping procedures and will be subject to background investigations. These investigations will serve to “ensure that athletes who are associated with the military or the war in any way, or who have publicly supported the invasion of Ukraine, will be automatically excluded,” the organization said.
This decision aligns with the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee. The organization had initially supported the decision of international federations such as rowing, which had excluded Russians and Belarusians from its competitions for security reasons after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
The IOC now recommends allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in competitions under a neutral banner, without any national symbol on their uniforms, as part of the qualification process for the Paris Olympics in 2024. The IOC has however maintained its decision. to exclude Russians and Belarusians from all team competitions.
The return of “a few” Russian rowing athletes could provoke the boycott of the Paris Olympics by Ukraine, which systematically refuses to send its athletes to sports competitions in which Russian and Belarusian athletes participate.