Russian rowers denied World Championship: Germany does not guarantee safety


You can, but you can’t

First, at the end of April, there was a decision by the International Canoe Federation (ICF): to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as individual neutral athletes. The statement that made the decision public said that there had first been extensive consultations with the “international canoeing community”. The concerns expressed by the organizers of the events were also considered. And in this regard, the ICF has taken “additional measures for the safe organization of competitions and the safety of athletes.”

Then everything is the same as everyone else: the creation of an independent commission to consider applications from Russian and Belarusian athletes who want to compete in a neutral status. The timing of when they will be able to compete is to be determined by an independent panel after confirmation of anti-doping procedures by the International Testing Agency (ITA). The ban on the participation of all Russian and Belarusian officials remains in force.

The IC is still developing the criteria for athletes to qualify for neutral status. But for the World Cup, this is no longer relevant. Closer to the start, in June, there was a ban from the host. Our federation received letters from the German side about the adult world championship and from the Italian side about the world championship under 19 and 23 years old. Neither Italy nor Germany believe they can ensure the safety of Russian athletes. (And those “additional measures for the safe organization of competitions and the safety of athletes” already taken, apparently, remained on paper.)

This was to be expected from Germany. The Minister of Internal Affairs of the country has repeatedly stated that it is impossible to let athletes from Russia to participate in competitions. But Italy quite recently confirmed at the official level that it will host our fencers at the World Championships in Milan. Will everything be different with security issues there?

Everything, alas, is happening today, like that famous singer who gives instructions to the accompanist before a concert, showing the notes: here to play, here not to play, but here they wrapped the fish … Each federation, events, and recommendations interprets as it wants. And he sees a greasy spot where he wants to.

Will Germany and Italy be punished? The precedent seems to have been set. Most recently, Thomas Bach criticized Poland for not issuing visas to our athletes to participate in the European Games. And the International Fencing Federation has deprived the tournament within the framework of the Games of the status of the individual championship of the continent.

And even Wimbledon tennis, which had begun, experienced something similar a year ago: not allowing Russia and Belarus, referring again to security issues, was punished with a fine, points, and a loss of image. This year, I didn’t allow myself to do that.

But the fact remains: the World Cup is a selection for the Olympic Games, the qualifying points have already been lost. True, our kayakers and canoeists still retain the opportunity to get them at one of the tournaments in May. At the moment – of course, theoretical.

The qualifying tournament will take place in the spring in Hungary, and the head coach of the Russian team Alexander Kostoglod hopes that our athletes will be allowed to compete. Even despite the fact that only athletes from countries that competed at the last World Cup should participate in it. Such hope is given by consultations with the leadership of the international federation, which confirmed that an exception will be made for Russians and Belarusians.

The window has opened

The Russian Rowing Federation (FGSR) sent a list of athletes to the International Rowing Federation (World Rowing) to apply for the autumn world championship in Belgrade. There are only five people on the application.

At the adult World Championships, which will be held September 3-10 in Belgrade, our athletes will only be allowed to compete in singles and coxswain doubles (including Paralympic athletes), and only singles in lightweight. At the same time, medals in 14 disciplines will be played at the tournament, six more sets will be played in lightweight. For the World Championship among athletes under 23 years old – admission is allowed only to singles and doubles oar competitions without a coxswain. Athletes under 19 years of age will be allowed to participate in all competitions, with the exception of the coxed fours and eights competitions.

World Rowing has decided not to allow Russian and Belarusian crews of fours and eights to the World Championship in accordance with the recommendations of the IOC, which deprive all of our types of team competitions. World Rowing has decided that these boat classes are command boats.

FGSR President Alexei Svirin, commenting on the decision of the international federation, said that “a small window has opened.” But only a few people can get into it, that is, only a few people will be able to participate in the World Cup. The decision to participate in the World Championships was made by the coaching staff and the athletes, who “must decide for themselves” whether they are ready.

Only the strongest were included in the final application: the inclusion criterion is a sports result. According to the head of the federation, those who are really capable of fighting for medals should go to competitions. The International Federation is studying the lists.

And slalom too…

Will our slalomists be able to compete at the World Championships in September? The venue is London, comments are hardly needed. The championship is also qualifying for the Olympic Games. The head coach of the Russian team in rowing slalom Maxim Obraztsov says that Russian athletes have not yet received invitations to participate.

“We have no information about our participation in the World Cup,” Obraztsov quoted TASS as saying. – We are still waiting for a response from the International Kayaking and Canoeing Federation, it was supposed to come at the end of June. The English didn’t say yes or no to us.”

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