Fencing Reintegrates Russians and Belarusians Ahead of Paris 2024

Fencing reintegrates Russians and Belarusians a year and a half from Paris-2024

Fencers from Russia and Belarus have been cleared to compete in individual and team events at the 2024 Paris Olympics following the decision of the highest fencing body, the International Fencing Federation (FIE). The decision will take effect from April 2023 and makes fencing the first Olympic sport to readmit athletes from Russia and Belarus after their exclusion in 2022 due to their role in the war in Ukraine. Russian fencers, who won three gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics, had to compete under the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee. However, opposition to the decision remains, with the Ukrainian Fencing Federation issuing a statement “shocked and outraged” by the FIE’s decision.
The position of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the reintegration of Russian and Belarusian athletes in Paris-2024 remains unclear. The FIE’s decision adds an additional factor to the complex geopolitical forces at play, including Russian influence within sporting bodies like the FIE, which has been led for fourteen years by the Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov.

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