World Athletics excludes competitors from the two nations, including ‘authorised neutral athletes’, due to the attacks on Ukraine

Russians and Belarusians with authorised neutral athlete (ANA) status have been barred from competition by World Athletics following Russia’s military attacks on Ukraine.

A statement from the global governing body said: “All athletes, support personnel and officials from Russia and Belarus will be excluded from all World Athletics Series events for the foreseeable future, with immediate effect.”

This includes the World Race Walking Team Championships in Muscat this week and World Indoor Championships in Belgrade later this month, plus the World Championships in Oregon in July.

World Athletics added: “The Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) process remains in place but Russian athletes who have received ANA status for 2022 are excluded from World Athletics Series events for the foreseeable future.

“This means that all Russian ANA or Belarusian athletes currently accredited for the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships Muscat 22 and the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22 (18-20 March) will have their accreditation withdrawn and entries denied, as will any support personnel and officials.”

Athletes such as Olympic high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene will be unable to compete in the forseeable future despite having earned ANA status.

READ MORE: Ukrainian athletes react to invasion

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “The world is horrified by what Russia has done, aided and abetted by Belarus. World leaders sought to avoid this invasion through diplomatic means but to no avail given Russia’s unswerving intention to invade Ukraine. The unprecedented sanctions that are being imposed on Russia and Belarus by countries and industries all over the world appear to be the only peaceful way to disrupt and disable Russia’s current intentions and restore peace.

“Anyone who knows me will understand that imposing sanctions on athletes because of the actions of their government goes against the grain. I have railed against the practice of politicians targeting athletes and sport to make political points when other sectors continue about their business.

“This is different as governments, business and other international organisations have imposed sanctions and measures against Russia across all sectors. Sport has to step up and join these efforts to end this war and restore peace. We cannot and should not sit this one out.”

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