— Published 3 April 2023

Russians and Belarusians get back to the table

A second international federation in the Olympic movement has decided to follow the IOC’s recommendation and reinstate Russian and Belarusian athletes. The world table tennis body (ITTF) has agreed to allow players from both countries to participate in international competitions from May 2023. They will be admitted “under strict conditions of neutrality“, says the ITTF, and will not be able to take part in the world championships, scheduled for the end of May, because they have not been able to compete in the qualifying events. “Table tennis has a long history of bringing people together, even when political ties are tenuous, the ITTF said. Our sport builds bridges, improves understanding between peoples and paves the way for peacebuilding, something that exclusion and division cannot do.” Clarification: Russian and Belarusian table tennis players under contract with the military will not be reinstated. In addition, the ITTF will only allow players in individual events, with Russians and Belarusians remaining excluded from team competitions.