Russian skating stars learn fate after calls for ban

The International Skating Union (ISU) has issued a decision following the statement from Olympic bosses on Monday

The International Skating Union (ISU) has banned all Russian and Belarusian skaters from global events after recommendations by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

In a statement released on Tuesday, the ISU expressed its “solidarity with all those affected by the conflict in Ukraine” and said it was banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from competition “until further notice.” 

“Following the IOC recommendation, in order to protect the integrity of ice skating competitions and for the safety of all the participants of international ice skating competitions, the ISU Council… agreed that with immediate effect and until further notice, no skaters belonging to the ISU members in Russia (Russian Skating Union and the Figure Skating Federation of Russia) and Belarus (Skating Union of Belarus) shall be invited or allowed to participate in international ice skating competitions including ISU championships and other ISU events,” a statement read. 

“The same applies to officials listed in the respective ISU communications and/or regulations under Russia and Belarus.”

ISU Statements on the Ukraine crisis:

Remaining ISU Events 2021/22 season –

Participation in international competitions of Skaters and Officials from Russia and Belarus –

— ISU Figure Skating (@ISU_Figure) March 1, 2022

The ISU’s ruling comes as a further sanction to Russian sport, which boasts world class skaters such as recent Olympic figure skating gold and silver medalists Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova and 15-year-old prodigy Kamila Valieva, who won gold in the team event at the recent Beijing Games before her participation was marred by a positive doping sample from December. 

The ISU’s decision means that Russian skaters will be prevented from competing in the World Figure Skating Championships at Montpellier’s Sud de France Arena from March 21 to 27, where they were expected to win a series of prizes. 

At the last edition of the competition in Stockholm in 2021, Russian athletes competing under the Figure Skating Federation of Russia banner due to WADA sanctions took home all three medals on offer in the women’s singles event, with Shcherbakova, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Trusova finishing in the top places.

Elsewhere, Anastasia Mishina sealed pairs gold with her partner Aleksandr Galliamov, and Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov were victorious in the ice dance.

Russian officials have reacted with anger and dismay to the raft of bans imposed on their athletes in light of recommendations issued by the IOC on Monday amid the conflict in Ukraine. 

Russian Duma Deputy and Sports Committee chairman Dmitry Svishchev suggested that “perhaps weak federations and weak athletes [will] rub their hands and think that now without Russia they will become world champions and Olympic champions.”

“The ban on the participation of Russians, the strongest in many sports, will be an advantage for many, it will be like doping for them,” Svishchev added, predicting that such bodies will “seriously regret what they did” in the future.

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