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United World Wrestling decision on neutral athlete inclusion for Russia & Belarus, starting immediately at U15 and U17 levels

by United World Wrestling

UWW Statement Graphic

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (April 4) -- United World Wrestling Bureau held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the possibility of wrestlers from Russia and Belarus returning to competition after the recommendations made by the International Olympic Committee Executive Board last week.

United World Wrestling's Bureau reiterated the organization's commitment to promoting peace and brotherhood through sports and its solidarity with the people of Ukraine. UWW will continue to support the Ukrainian wrestling community, as it has done since the war broke out.

As a general principle, the Bureau unanimously favored the return of wrestlers to competition from Russia and Belarus under the conditions of participation set forth by the IOC.

For the Senior age categories, an independent panel shall be formed to verify the eligibility of all athletes from Russia and Belarus based on the IOC’s recommended conditions of participation. The exact criteria and the members of the panel shall be decided in the coming weeks.

The Bureau approved to immediately allow wrestlers in the U15 and U17 age categories to compete as neutral athletes in international competitions.

"Sports, over history, has been a medium to bring people closer," Nenad LALOVIC, UWW President, said. "Wrestling, as a sport, has a unique ability to bring people from different cultures and backgrounds together. It has great potential to help in peacebuilding and tolerance among different communities, countries, and regions".

The sanctions on the Russian and Belarusian governments or state officials remain, and no international event under the UWW auspices shall be held in or allocated to the Russian Federation.