Russian and Belarusian athletes are set to make a return to international badminton competitions from February 2024, following an announcement by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). The governing body revealed that players from these two nations, who had been banned due to Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, will have the opportunity to participate as neutral athletes.
Despite this development, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is yet to make a decision about the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the upcoming Paris Games in 2024. However, earlier this year, the IOC recommended that these athletes compete in Olympic qualifying events under a neutral flag.
BWF President Poul-Erik Hoyer Larsen expressed optimism about this decision, viewing it as a step toward promoting peace and solidarity. He mentioned that the lifting of the suspension for Russian and Belarussian athletes who meet the criteria to compete as individual neutral athletes is a positive progression.
The BWF stated that the process of reintegrating Russian and Belarusian athletes would commence in September, marking the initial phase of their return to international badminton competitions. This development signifies a significant milestone as the world of sports strives to balance athletic performance and geopolitical dynamics.
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