In a controversial move, the International Judo Federation announced they will allow the participation of judoka from Russia and Belarus in the upcoming Ulaanbaatar Grand Slam event, despite the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian and Belarusian judoka had previously been under a voluntary suspension.
Most other international sporting bodies have followed the recommendation of the International Olympic Committee to temporarily ban athletes from those countries. But the IJF seemed reluctant to issue stringent sanctions from the beginning. As Black Belt previously reported, this may in part be due to the alleged close relationship between IJF President Marius Vizer and Russian leader Vladimir Putin as well as the financial support Russian allies of Putin have given to the IJF.
In allowing the participation of the Russian and Belarusian athletes, the IJF cited IOC President Thomas Bach’s warning against sanctioning athletes because of what country they’re from. However, Bach also recently said the time to lift measures against Russia and Belarus has not yet arrived. Former world champion Georgii Zantaraia of Ukraine was immediately critical of the IJF decision saying if Russian athletes are allowed to take part in the upcoming tournament, he will renounce all his IJF titles.
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