World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said on Sunday he would not be changing his views ‘anytime soon’ when it comes to welcoming Russia back into the fold.
All Russian and Belarusian athletes have been banned from track and field competition ‘for the foreseeable future’ since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. That includes the option of competing as a neutral.
International sports bodies are taking wildly varying stances on allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete while the war in Ukraine continues.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it is yet to make a decision on whether Russians can compete at the Paris Olympics next year but it has recommended they return to competition.
That stance has received a mixed welcome from federations, with Coe’s World Athletics among the most stringent of opponents to their return should the conflict continue.
“I’ve been an athlete, I was able to prepare in the safety and security of my home city. I was able when I needed to to travel abroad,” Coe told a press conference to mark the end of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.
“I cannot imagine what it must be like for athletes in Ukraine, to be dealing with this landscape.”
World Athletics, Coe said, had created a welfare fund, meaning Ukrainian athletes are able ‘to train away from their homeland in training camps’ in Turkey, Portugal and Italy.
“We made a presentation in the stadium just the other day for some equipment that has of course been destroyed with with so much else. It’s a modest contribution. It’s an intolerable situation and that’s why I won’t be changing my views anytime soon.”
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