— Published 25 May 2023

The Russians will have only one chance

The situation is becoming more and more complex on the issue of the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competitions. World Sailing, the world authority of sailing, added this week a little more confusion by detailing the modalities of their return. Certainly, the athletes of the two countries in war with Ukraine will be able to try to qualify for the Games of Paris 2024. But the road of the next Olympic regattas will be extremely narrow to them. According to a decision of the executive committee of World Sailing, the Russian and Belarussian competitors will not be able to participate in the five European events of qualification, and in the three world events, foreseen in the calendar by March 2024. They are excluded. They will not be able to compete in the World Championships in August in The Hague, Netherlands. However, they will be able to compete in the final qualifying event for the Paris 2024 Games, the “Last Chance Regatta“, scheduled for April 2024 in Hyères, in the south of France. Only one chance, therefore, not one more. Sergey Dzhienbaev, the president of the Russian Sailing Federation, commented without nuance the position of World Sailing. “To present oneself at an Olympic qualifying regatta without competitive training is pure madness,” he said, quoted by the TASS agency. Russia has won a single Olympic medal in sailing, in bronze in the women’s windsurfing event, at the Rio 2016 Games. In Tokyo 2020, its delegation engaged under the colors of the Olympic Committee of Russia (ROC) had six athletes in Olympic sailing.