Taekwondo to Allow Russian Competitors at World Championships

Russia TKD
World Taekwondo announced on Monday that they will allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete at next month's World Taekwondo Championships, slated to begin May 29 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The decision is a reversal of course for both World Taekwondo and the International Olympic Committee, which last week recommended athletes from those countries be allowed to return to international competition as long as they have no links to the military and compete under a "neutral" status. Russian and Belarusian athletes had been banned from taekwondo and many other Olympic sports since their invasion of Ukraine last year.

The IOC recommended that Russian and Belarusian athletes who are contracted to military or security agencies not be allowed to compete but is leaving the decision over who should be eligible to each sports' governing body. Several leading Russian taekwondo athletes currently compete for the army sports club CSKA and their status remains unclear. World Taekwondo announced they will have a review committee to determine which athletes can compete as neutrals.

Prior to the war, World Taekwondo had awarded Russian leader Vladimir Putin an honorary 9th degree black belt, which they rescinded last year as the Russian invasion provoked an outcry from the international community.

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