Five days before the beginning of the 2023 World Championships, scheduled from May 7 to 14 in Doha, the International Judo Federation (IJF) has reduced the number of neutral athletes from Russia and Belarus authorized to participate in the competitions. It withdrew eight names, but without specifying if they were Russian or Belarusian, and especially if they were judokas, coaches, officials or members of the management. The body chaired by Marius Vizer explains that it “conducted an independent review of the background of the athletes and delegates.” The result was that eight people on the list provided by the two countries were not eligible. They will therefore not make the trip to Qatar. “After thorough examination, eight members of the delegation were rejected,” explains the IJF. It says it only accepted athletes “employed at the federal sports training center,” and those “for whom no information was identified suggesting support or opinions on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” In the end, the delegation of neutral athletes will have twenty judokas, ten men and ten women, eighteen Russians and two Belarusians. Among them, the runner-up of the world heavyweight in 2021, Tamerlan Bashaev (pictured above), a Russian of Chechen origin, and the world champion of the under 60 kg in 2021, Yago Abuladze, engaged in the higher category (- 66 kg).
— Published 3 May 2023