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Triathlon greenlights return of Russian athletes to competition

World Triathlon on Thursday opened the way for athletes from Russia and Belarus, banned from competition since March 2022 after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, to once again compete in its competitions.

The executive board of the global governing body of triathlon said it supported the recommendation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of a “return to competition of athletes with Russian and Belarusian passports in international competitions”.

The board also approved “the lifting of the suspension applied to the countries’ participations in World Triathlon events at the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”.

“In principle, World Triathlon supports the development of a pathway for independent neutral individual Athletes and Officials with Russian and Belarusian passports to participate in our sports.”

The board added it “reaffirms its solidarity with Ukraine in the face of the ongoing war with Russia, and that the independence of any athlete or official was an absolute condition of their returning to a World Triathlon event”.

Athletes from Russia and Belarus have faced sanctions from a multitude of sports since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year.

As Moscow’s assault on Ukraine stretches into a second year, the IOC recommended allowing athletes from Russia and Moscow ally Belarus to compete as individual neutrals in upcoming international competitions.

The IOC says however it is yet to make a decision on whether Russians can take part at the Paris Olympics next year.

The announcement, made late last month, angered Ukrainian authorities, who have accused the global body in charge of Olympics of promoting war.

Triathlon follows the path of fencing, table tennis and taekwondo in approving a return for athletes from Russia and Belarus, while they remained banned from athletics and equestrian sports.

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