Russia banned from skating as sports sanctions increase

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Russian athletes have been barred from another hugely popular sport at home after the country invaded Ukraine.

Russia was banned from participating in international ice skating competitions on Tuesday, a day after being expelled from competitions in football and hockey, Vladimir Putin’s favorite sport. The decisions follow a request from the International Olympic Committee to keep Russian athletes away from sporting events around the world.

The International Skating Union, the body that governs the sport globally, said no athletes from Russia or Belarus “will be invited or permitted to participate” in any events until further notice.

“The ISU Council reiterates its solidarity with all those affected by the conflict in Ukraine and our hearts go out to all the Ukrainian people and country,” the ISU said in a statement.

Belarus has been a key Russian ally in its attack on Ukraine.

The World Figure Skating Championships are scheduled for later this month in Montpellier, France. The ISU decision means Olympic champion Anna Shcherbakova and her 15-year-old teammate Kamila Valieva, who was at the center of a still unresolved doping dispute at last month’s Winter Olympics, will be barred from competition .

Also on Tuesday, the International Volleyball Federation said it had stripped Russia of hosting the men’s world championships in August and September and would seek another host country or countries.

“It would be impossible to prepare and organize the World Championships in Russia because of the war in Ukraine,” the FIVB board said.

The sport of swimming, however, has so far chosen to ignore the IOC’s recommendation to ban Russians. The sport’s governing body, known as FINA, said on Tuesday it would allow swimmers from Russia and Belarus to participate “as neutrals, competing under the FINA flag and with the FINA anthem. “.

The FINA website still states that Russia will host the World Short Course Championships in December.

The swimming body, however, said it had withdrawn a federation honor awarded to Putin in 2014.

The International Ski Federation has also decided to allow Russians to continue competing, but the Norwegian Ski Federation said on Tuesday it would bar Russians from competing in upcoming World Cup events in its country.

“We had hoped that the FIS would reach the same conclusion on behalf of all ski nations, but now the Norwegian Ski Federation cannot wait any longer. The Executive Committee has therefore decided today to inform the FIS that Russian and Belarusian athletes will not be allowed to participate in future events in Norway,” said Norwegian Ski Federation President Erik Roste.

It is unclear whether Russian track athletes will be allowed to compete in the world indoor championships this month in Serbia. The country remains suspended from sport for doping but many Russians compete as “neutral athletes” without a flag or national emblems.

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