Ukraine looks to block its athletes from competing against Russians
IOC recommendation allows Russians, Belarusians to be eligible as neutral athletes
The Ukrainian government is looking to block its athletes from sports competitions, particularly qualifying events for next year's Paris Olympics, which readmit Russian athletes.
The International Olympic Committee recommended Tuesday that sports federations allow Russians and Belarusians to compete as neutral athletes without national symbols. Ukraine wanted to continue the full exclusion, which had been in place in most sports since shortly after last year's Russian invasion.
Government minister Oleh Nemchinov said Thursday that a decision had been taken only to enter events with no Russians involved, according to public broadcaster Suspilne.
There was no clarification on how Ukraine's approach might affect tennis, where individual Russians and Belarusians already play on the men's and women's tours, and have played against Ukrainians. They remain barred from national team tennis events like the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup.
Ukraine boycotted an Olympic judo qualifier last year when the sport's governing body allowed Russians, including several from the country's military, to take part as neutral athletes. Ukrainian officials have previously not ruled out boycotting next year's Paris Olympics rather than compete against Russians.