Badminton World Federation restraints Russian and Belarusian athletes from international competitions

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) said on Thursday that it still forbids Russian and Belarusian competitors from competing in international competitions.

After Russia invaded Ukraine in March of last year, first utilising its partner Belarus as a staging area in what Russia called a “special military operation,” the BWF originally prohibited Russian and Belarusian athletes.

Notwithstanding the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suggesting last month that Russian and Belarusian athletes be let to compete again as neutrals, provided they did not support the conflict or were associated with the military, the BWF ultimately decided against this.

Olympic sports that have admitted again athletes from the two nations as neutrals include table tennis, fencing, judo, and taekwondo.

“BWF acknowledges that sport should foster peace and solidarity between all people, and that sport should not become a political vehicle for influence in geo-politics,” the governing body mentioned.

“In that sense, the guiding principle is that athletes should always be allowed to participate in sport competitions without judgement of their passport and separate of any geo-political conflict outside the control of the sports movement.”

“However… BWF is not convinced there is satisfactory justification to lift the suspensions on Russian and Belarussian players and officials at this time.”

“BWF continues to express unwavering support to the people of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian badminton community, and we strongly condemn the invasion of Ukraine, which works against BWF’s core values and our objective to obtain peace.”

Badminton qualification for the Paris Olympics will be based on singles and doubles event results between May 1, 2023 and April 28, 2024.