— Published 24 May 2023

Russia without its Olympic champions

After fencing earlier this week, a new international federation has unveiled the list of Russian and Belarusian athletes admitted to compete under neutral status. World Taekwondo announced that it has accepted 14 competitors from Russia, and nine with Belarusian passports, for the upcoming World Championships, scheduled for May 29 to June 6 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Their entry has been provisionally approved, but it is subject to the signature of a declaration by which they commit themselves to fully respect the conditions of participation. As with fencing, several big names in the discipline are not included in the list drawn up by World Taekwondo. Vladislav Larin (photo above) and Maksim Khramtsov, who became the first Russian Olympic gold medallists in taekwondo at the Tokyo 2020 Games, had their application for eligibility rejected by the international body. The two athletes did not meet all the conditions recommended by the IOC to obtain neutral participant status. As a reminder, World Taekwondo had suspended the Russian and Belarusian athletes in March 2022, after the start of the invasion of Ukraine. However, in early April this year, the IOC ruled in favour of their reinstatement, under the guise of neutrality, on the international circuit.