Europe splits Russia and Belarus

There are already notable achievements in weightlifting

Europe splits Russia and Belarus
Photo: Maksim Platonov/

There will be no Russians at European Games in Poland

The confrontation between Europe and Russia and partly with Belarus is already ceasing to resemble the fight of bulldogs under the carpet, as the opponents are more and more openly demonstrating their positions on the impossibility of sports coexistence. At the Third European Games starting on June 21 in Poland, there will be no athletes from Russia and Belarus in any of the declared disciplines, despite that individual federations have already allowed our countries to start. Boxing, judo, taekwondo — starts in these sports have already been held with the participation of Russians and Belarusians, moreover, there is even a little joy in judo that the Russian wrestler Inal Tasoev was awarded a gold medal, which he was initially deprived of because of a judicial error at the World Championship in Qatar. That is, there is a sense of historical justice, reminding of the times when Crimea was not our yet, and sports mistakes were just sports mistakes.

But the fact it is just an “optical illusion” with Tasoev, a rare case of triumphed justice, which is unlikely to have any long-term consequences. The Russian received a gold medal but did not come a step closer to the Olympic permits. The permits will be distributed according to the rating, according to certain quotas, within the framework of the competition called the World Tour, which finishes on June 23, 2024. Then the holders of permits will be considered by the admission commission. There, a decision can be made to refuse.

But even in this case, athletes will not be guaranteed to get admission as neutral athletes. The recent World Taekwondo Championship was held without the participation of two Russians, Olympic champions Vladislav Larin and Maxim Khramtsov. In this case, there was no explanation at all. Out of the twenty participants of the World Judo Championship, five have a suspicion that they represent army sports structures. The International Taekwondo Federation allowed them to their starts, the IOC will not even consider such candidates.

Recent World Taekwondo Championship was held without the participation of two Russians. Photo:

Belarusians who have found themselves in the same boat of outcasts with us are already making gestures in terms of obtaining the admission of leading athletes to the starts, and local weightlifting leaders Pyotr Asayenok, Gennady Laptev, Evgeny Tikhontsov, Pavel Khodasevich were among the 13 athletes that the international federation allowed at the start of the next World Championship.

State agencies of Ukraine boycotting starts with participation of Russians

In the light of what has been written, there is, most likely, one more detail that explains all these gestures with the admission of athletes to international starts: psychological. To cause a logical feeling of irritation among the leaders from that someone participates in international competitions, and your champion status, rather, serves as an obstacle. And here it does not help at all to realise that “a double-edged sword”, and the same Ukrainians are largely deprived of the right to participate in international competitions, only for a different reason. The state bodies of Ukraine boycott any starts with the slightest participation of Russians: the boxing and Taekwondo World championships, the European Fencing Championship starting. And they won't let us go to Poland, to the European Games. Moreover, the collective West wants us not to get to Paris either.

As a result, the situation is in limbo, and it is clear that the IOC wants to split both the intra-team relations and the relations between Russia and Belarus. We are familiar, the Russians have been beaten since 2015, when they consistently suspended athletics, then rowing and weightlifting, then sifted through all the candidates for the Olympic start in Pyeongchang 2018, and nothing changes. The struggle lost by then Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko at the start of the anti-Russian hysteria, when the absolutely illegal suspension of all Russian athletes, from junior “small” to veteran “big”, continued with a strategic defeat before the 2016 Olympics, while the head of the ROC Alexander Zhukov gave up, and the managers of the swimmer did all the rough work for him Yulia Efimova. It was her admission to the start of the Olympic competitions, received just before the start of the Olympics, that caused a precedent, after which everyone could participate, with the exception of Tatarstan cyclist Ilnur Zakarin, who simply did not have time for the bike race.

Struggle, lost by then Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko at the start of the anti-Russian hysteria, continued with a strategic defeat. Photo:

Russian ROC remians silent

The ability of our sports management to hang out beautifully next to Olympic champions has been passed on to the current leadership of Russian sports. Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin lost even before the Olympic Games, when the International University Sports Federation headed by him earlier pushed Russian athletes out of all their starts. The Russian positions, which seemed to be the most solid (besides Matytsin, there was also Igor Sivov from Kazan in the leadership of the FISU), turned out to be a house of cards. We will also not go to the Summer Universiade in China, although initially this Universiade was supposed to take place in Yekaterinburg. Alas, instead of creating a certain pro-Russian lobby, Matytsin, while heading the FISU, was deep into some strange projects in the form of international competitions not among countries, but among universities, by analogy with numerous world and European championships among universities. There are actually enough of them, and the Universiades were just the same starts among athletes from countries whose students can study in different parts of the globe.

On the same wall of shame, by analogy with the sofa for tears and kisses from the practice of figure skating, the Russian Olympic Committee should also be put. If someone says that Russia has not yet lost the chance to start in Paris 2024, then we remind you that four European Olympic Festivals were held without the participation of our country. Specifically, 2022 in Finland (winter) and Banská Bystrica (Slovakia), as well as 2023 in Italy (winter). In July, the youth EOC will be held in Maribor (Slovenia), you can be certain that the Russians will not be there either. If Ukraine is screaming about and without about its attitude to tournaments that are already taking place without its participation, then the Russian ROC is silent even about the unprecedented step of the EOC, which did not take into account the bronze medals of our hockey team in the results table of the winter Youth festival in Finland. The competitions were taken out of the general programme and managed to be completed before the start of the special military operation. As a result, there are two medal tables from the competition. Real and fair in Wikipedia, where both the bronze of Russia and the silver of Belarus are indicated, and invented by the Finns on the official website of the competition, where neither Russia nor Belarus are among the medalists, although Finland itself took into account the gold medal won by their hockey players.

Alas, instead of creating a certain pro-Russian lobby, Matytsin, while heading the FISU, was deep into some strange projectors. Photo:

Thanks to Yulia Efimova's managers

It turns out that only gold was played in ice hockey at the EOC 2022, although our athletes have medals, they can be touched, but legally they do not exist. It would seem that the ROC could arrange some kind of protest with the participation of medalist hockey players, they are not allowed to any international starts anyway, the junior ones have already missed everything, the Hockey World Youth Championship 2024 will also take place without them. To declare blatant injustice, to outrage the public, to sue, as Yulia Efimova's managers did seven years ago, who eventually achieved justice for themselves and for almost all members of the Russian Olympic delegation.

The leadership of the ROC and the Ministry of Sports of Russia is the “lying stone” under which water does not flow, and he himself pulls Russian sports down with a heavy load. Looking at the tops, the bottoms do nothing either. The decision of the International Skating Federation not to allow Russian figure skaters before the start of the next international season is already an example of lawlessness raised to the absolute. Do we have many figure skaters from the army and Dynamo structures whose membership has stalled the participation of leaders from other sports. Can Kamila Valieva's meeting with CSKA football players and a joint photo with the club legend Igor Akinfeev be considered a fact of the involvement of this year's school graduate in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation? If not, what stops the federation leadership? All the Russian sports celebrities expressed their indignation about this decision, but it is not their clucking for the needs of the Russian public that is important here, but the question: what have you done so that the current generations can start? The results of work in boxing, sambo and taekwondo are visible to the naked eye, in fencing, things are moving from a dead point, although the composition of the national team looks like a puppet. But these sports have already started or will start in the current 2023. And figure skating is flying past the international season for the third year in a row.

Dzhaudat Abdullin

The author's opinion may not coincide with the opinion of Realnoe Vremya's editorial board.