Russian Wrestlers Will Not Compete At Paris Olympics After Rejecting Invitations

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Russian Wrestlers Will Not Compete At Paris Olympics After Rejecting Invitations neutral athletes

Ten Russian wrestlers who were invited to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympics as neutral athletes have pulled out after multiple leading wrestlers were left off the International Olympic Committee’s invitation list, the Russian Wrestling Federation announced Saturday.

Russia’s Abdulrashid Sadulaev, Zaurbek Sidakov were among the leading wrestlers not named as invited neutral athletes

Two-time gold medalist Abdulrashid Sadulaev and 2023 world champion Zaurbek Sidakov were among the leading Russian wrestlers not named in the International Olympic Committee’s list of invited neutral athletes in June, the RWF said in a statement.

The RWF said its executive committee, the national teams’ coaching staff, and the invited athletes had unanimously decided to refuse to participate in the Olympics after a meeting.

“We do not accept the unsportsmanlike selection principle that guided the International Olympic Committee when forming the list of eligible athletes, the purpose of which is to undermine the principle of unity of our team,” the RWF said.

The International Olympic Committee had extended a total of 57 invitations to athletes from Russia and Belarus. Fourteen athletes from that group already turned down the invite, including one Russian wrestler.

Moreover, Russian and Belarusian athletes can participate at the Olympics only as neutrals. In fact, this means without flags, anthems, or any role in the opening parade.

This is because of the ongoing war in Ukraine, which Russia calls a “special military operation.” The country remains divided on this topic.

Russian athletes and officials have favored competing at the Paris Olympics under those conditions.

Nonetheless, others have called for boycotts.

A total of 30 Russian, Belarusian athletes have accepted invites to the Summer Games as Individual Neutral Athletes

According to the official Olympics website, a total of 30 Russian and Belarusian athletes have thus far accepted invites to the Summer Games as Individual Neutral Athletes.

During a meeting, the federation said up to 16 Russians had qualified for the Paris Olympics, not 10. Six of those invited were “far from the status of Russian team leaders.”

Furthermore, the federation listed the names of top Russian wrestlers who didn’t get invitations and said the Olympic event would now be devalued because of less talent.

“Any sane person understands that the status of the Olympic Games as the most significant sporting event is being questioned, and wrestling competitions without Russian athletes will be incomplete, and the champions will not receive the satisfaction of winning the Olympic tournament,” the statement said.

The 10 Russian wrestlers who received an invite were:

  • Arslan Bagaev
  • Veronika Chumikova
  • Alina Kasabieva
  • Abdulla Kurbanov
  • Natalya Malysheva
  • Shamil Mamedov
  • Nachin Mongush
  • Magomed Murtazaliev
  • Alan Ostaev
  • Elizaveta Petliakova

Per The Associated Press, the wrestlers would have represented the largest group of Russian athletes in any sport at the Summer Olympics under the Individual Neutral Athlete program.

Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee and Sports Ministry called to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes

Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) and Sports Ministry requested the IOC to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing altogether.

Under the current provision, Russian and Belarusian athletes can compete under the Individual Neutral Athletes with “strict eligibility conditions.”

The Ukraine said these “athletes quite often represent sports organizations related to the Russian Armed Forces.” Therefore, they should be banned from competing.

However, a letter sent out from the Ukraine asserted that a couple of Russian athletes had a direct connection to the Russian military. One named in particular was canoeist Alexey Korovashkov.

Korovashlov is among the “representatives of the Central Sports Club of the Russian Army and officers of the Russian Army,” according to the letter.

This is a “gross violation of the requirements established by the Individual Commission of Neutral Athletes of the IOC,” the letter said.

Additionally, the 2024 Paris Olympics run from July 26 to Aug. 11. The wrestling competitions in Paris are scheduled to run from Aug. 5-11 at Grand Palais Ephemere in Champ de Mars.

Of course, a total of 288 wrestlers are expected to compete across 18 different weight categories. Out of all of these wrestlers then Akhmed Tazhudinov from Bahrain (Russian-born) is the favorite to win it all at -115 on top Olympics betting sites.