When the United States hosts the track and field world championships next month for the first time, the event will be without athletes from Russia and Belarus. World Athletics reaffirmed to the Associated Press its March decision to ban athletes representing both countries, which will keep them from participating in the largest international sports event since the end of the Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
The world championships, to be held July 15 to 24 in Eugene, Ore., were originally scheduled for August 2021 before being postponed after the pandemic pushed last year’s Tokyo Olympics into that time frame.
World Athletics imposed the ban following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which was supported by Belarus, saying, “all athletes, support personnel and officials from Russia and Belarus will be excluded from all World Athletics Series events for the foreseeable future.” That ban will remain in place barring an unexpected end to the war in Ukraine, according to the AP.
Since the February invasion, Russia’s teams and athletes have been banned from some major sports and competitions across the world, while others have been allowed to compete under specific conditions, such as signing a document forbidding public support of the invasion. Russian federations and athletes have filed appeals to oppose the bans in sports including soccer, gymnastics, rugby and biathlon. In April, a Russian ban in luge was overturned, but no reasoning for the reversal was offered.
In November, World Athletics voted to extend its suspension of Russia from track and field into a seventh year, following the country’s state-sponsored doping program. Despite that penalty, Russian athletes who proved they were clean were allowed to compete as “neutral” athletes. But as a result of the March ruling, even those athletes are barred from competing in Eugene.