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Russia withdraws from Paris Olympics Wrestling events

The Russian Wrestling Federation's withdrawal from the 2024 Paris Olympics, joined by the judo federation, reflects ongoing tensions over athlete eligibility and geopolitical issues.

Russia withdraws from Paris Olympics Wrestling events

Russia withdraws from Paris Olympic Wrestling events (Photo credit: UWW)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 6 July 2024 6:39 PM GMT

The Russian Wrestling Federation has officially announced its decision to withdraw from the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. This decision comes despite the invitation extended to ten Russian wrestlers by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The announcement was made in a statement from the Russian Wrestling Federation, expressing strong discontent with the IOC's selection process.

The statement reads, "The Russian Wrestling Federation, athletes, and coaches of the Russian National Teams in freestyle, women's, and Greco-Roman wrestling will not follow the lead of politicians and will not allow the spirit of the Russian Team to be broken. We do not accept the unsportsmanlike selection principle that guided the International Olympic Committee when forming the list of eligible athletes, the purpose of which is to undermine the principle of unity of our team."

The controversy stems from the Individual Neutral Athlete Eligibility Review Panel's decision to rule many Russian athletes ineligible due to non-compliance with IOC guidelines related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Despite this, Russia managed to get ten wrestlers approved across various styles, including men's freestyle, women's freestyle, and Greco-Roman wrestling. However, the Russian Wrestling Federation has chosen to boycott the Games entirely.

The statement from the federation further criticizes the IOC for not allowing some of Russia's top wrestlers, including Olympic champions like Abdulrashid Sadulaev, Zaurbek Sidakov, Zaur Uguev, and Musa Evloev, to compete. "The International Olympic Committee became an obstacle on the way of Abdulrashid Sadulaev to the third Olympic peak, did not give Zaurbek Sidakov, Zaur Uguev, Musa Evloev and other wrestlers of the Russian National Team the opportunity to compete," the statement reads.

This move follows a similar decision by the Russian Judo Federation, which announced last week that its board had decided not to send any athletes to Paris. The statement did not specify the opinions of the athletes themselves. The IOC, in a statement to The Associated Press, mentioned it was awaiting an "individual reply" from the judo athletes. As of now, the IOC website lists one Russian competitor in judo as having accepted an invitation.

As of Sunday, the IOC website listed 23 Russian athletes across seven sports who have accepted invitations for the Paris Olympics, including wrestlers.

The Russian Wrestling Federation asserts that the exclusion of their athletes undermines the spirit of fair competition and questions the integrity of the Olympic Games.

They believe that without the participation of Russian athletes, the wrestling competitions will be incomplete and that the eventual champions will not experience the full satisfaction of their victories.

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