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Russian sporting officials express regret after Ukraine boycott

Ukrainian athletes will not take part in the European Sambo Championships in Serbia

Russian officials connected with the combat sport Sambo have shared their dismay after Ukraine confirmed its athletes would boycott the upcoming European Championships in Serbia because of the participation of Russian and Belarusian competitors.

The European Sambo Championships will be held from September 15 to 18 in Novi Sad, where Russian and Belarusian athletes have been cleared to compete under the flag of the International Sambo Federation (FIAS).

That position has led to Ukraine refusing to send competitors to the showpiece.      

“We, the athletes, coaches and employees of the NFSU [National Ukrainian Sambo Federation], declare our refusal to participate in the European Sambo Championships, which will be held in the city of Novi Sad, due to the decision of the International Sambo Federation and the European Sambo Federation to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in these competitions,” read a statement shared by TASS.

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© David Finch / Getty Images
Judo star issues threat if Russians allowed to compete

That decision has been met with disappoint among Russian officials in a sport which has its origins in the Soviet Union.

“In any country in the world, in any city in Russia, everyone who practices Sambo is one friendly family,” said the head coach of the Russian national Sambo team, Dmitry Troshkin.

“We have nothing to share on the mat except for fair sport.

“The Ukrainian team is a strong team and has always been a serious competitor. It’s a pity. I understand that they just got caught up in the [situation].”

The president of the FIAS, Russia’s Vasily Shestakov, likewise expressed his dismay.  

“Naturally, I would like athletes from all countries to take part in these competitions,” he told RIA Novosti.

“But now the situation is like this. It’s a pity, because the Ukrainian team has always been in the top three,” added the official, noting that “sport unites people and will always serve to bring athletes from different countries closer.”

Elsewhere, the head of the European Sambo Federation, Sergey Eliseev, said that the political backdrop should not filter down to sports.

“It is very important for us that all athletes can compete regardless of political situations. And we consider it wrong to mix sports with politics,” said Eliseev.

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Volodymyr Zelensky wants world sport to take a tough line on Russia. © Laurent Van der Stockt for Le Monde / Getty Images
‘No place’ for Russians in world sport, claims Zelensky

Ukrainian officials – including President Vladimir Zelensky – have called for a blanket ban on Russian athletes from all international competitions, demanding they be deprived of the right to appear even under neutral status.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended at the end of February that sports federations not invite Russians and Belarusians to international events wherever possible.

IOC president Thomas Bach later claimed that the measure was partly to protect Russian and Belarusian athletes from supposed hostility they would face outside their respective countries.

Despite widespread bans, some sports – notably including tennis – have allowed Russian and Belarusian players to compete as neutrals, although they are barred from team events.

Back in June, judo faced a similar situation to the one currently encountered by Sambo after Ukrainian athletes boycotted a tournament in Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar after Russians were permitted to attend in a neutral capacity.

https://ift.tt/uVNqZvj 13, 2022 at 06:56PM
from RT – Daily news

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