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Russia’s sporting freeze grows as Putin’s blackbelt revoked

Russia’s sporting freeze grows as Putin’s blackbelt revoked

ALL SPORTS: Russia continued to pay a heavy sporting price for its invasion of Ukraine yesterday (Mar 1), frozen out by a snowballing list of sports with perhaps the most painful blow coming in ice skating.


Wednesday 2 March 2022, 10:10AM

Separately, Russian President Vladimir Putin had his honorary black belt in taekwondo revoked by the sport’s international governing body due to his decision to invade.

Russia, traditionally a powerhouse in the sport of skating in which they won six medals at the Beijing Olympics including two gold, yesterday had their skaters barred from all competitions.

This rules them out of March’s world championships to be hosted in Montpellier, France.

It is another significant blow to a country who under President Vladimir Putin had used sport as a powerful force for its image both globally and internally.

Under his presidency they have hosted the Winter Olympics in 2014 in Sochi - though that was overshadowed by the state-sponsored doping scandal - and the 2018 football World Cup.

On Monday, the governing bodies who oversee those sporting showpieces hit Russia hard.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) urged sports federations and organisers to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from international events.

Hours later world football’s governing body FIFA kicked Russia out of the 2022 World Cup as football’s global governing body and UEFA joined forces to expel Russian national teams and clubs from all international competitions.

Yesterday they lost the right to host the men’s Volleyball World Championships - which the old Soviet Union won twice - in August and September.

“The FIVB Board of Administration has come to the conclusion that it would be impossible to prepare and stage the World Championships in Russia due to the war in Ukraine,” said the International Volleyball Federation in a statement.

“It has accordingly decided to remove from Russia the organisation of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship scheduled to be held in August and September 2022.”

Give birth to life’

This follows UEFA stripping Saint Petersburg of hosting the Champions League final - European football’s premier club competition - and Formula One cancelling the Russian Grand Prix last Friday.

The Ice Skating Union (ISU) said they had decided to bar the skaters - this also includes short track and speed skating - after they “carefully evaluated” the IOC’s statement on Monday.

“The ISU Council... agreed that with immediate effect and until further notice, no skaters belonging to the ISU Members in Russia and Belarus shall be invited or allowed to participate in international ice skating competitions,” the body said in a statement.

Badminton World Federation (BWF) followed suit with a blanket ban on the athletes declaring it had “strengthened its measures”. Only hours before it initially just cancelled BWF-sanctioned tournaments in Russia and Belarus.

Sinea Phuket

Swimming was a rare bird to offer some sanctuary for Russian and Ukrainian swimmers as governing body FINA stopped short of banning them.

“Russian or Belarusian nationals, be it as individuals or teams, should be accepted only as neutral athletes or neutral teams,” FINA said in a statement.

Tennis stars such as newly anointed men’s world number one Daniil Medvedev will be nervously awaiting what the men’s tour ATP and women’s tour WTA decide.

Russia are also the Davis Cup holders though they are not involved in this weekend’s play-offs - the International Tennis Federation (ITF) that runs the tournament is yet to comment.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) too is yet to make a call on individual riders or teams - though Pavel Sivakov who rides for the Ineos outfit made clear his opposition to the war last week.

Amidst all the gloom for Ukrainian sporting stars there was a bit of bright news for Ukraine international midfielder Yevhen Shakhov - who plays in Greece - whose wife gave birth to a baby girl in Kyiv.

“The real heroes of our time. Heroes are not those who fight, but those who give birth to life. I love you very much,” the 31-year-old AEK Athens star posted on Instagram.

Putin’s honorary black belt revoked

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin had his honorary black belt in taekwondo revoked by the sport’s international governing body yesterday, over his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

World Taekwondo, which governs international federations for the sport, was the latest to condemn Putin, saying yesterday that Moscow’s actions went against the sport’s vision: “Peace is more precious than triumph.”

“In this regard, World Taekwondo has decided to withdraw the honorary 9th dan black belt conferred to Mr Vladimir Putin in November 2013,” the Seoul-based body said in an official statement.

It added that official taekwondo events would not be organised in Russia or Belarus.

In line with the IOC’s urging, the flags and anthems of both countries will also not be displayed or played at taekwondo events around the world.

“World Taekwondo’s thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and we hope for a peaceful and immediate end to this war,” it said.

Putin does not actually do taekwondo, but is instead accomplished in judo, another martial art, and has long served as an honorary president to the International Judo Federation.

On Sunday the IJF suspended his status as honorary president and ambassador to the sport.

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Kurt | 02 March 2022 - 16:01:10

Putin got his black belt during his younger years when he was still a KGB officer. If you know what the russian KGB stands for you may believe it is a 'true' black belt.

Mr Richie | 02 March 2022 - 11:33:51

I wonder if his black belt was earned in the proper way, richie retired 3rd dan karate shotokan inst   for 34 years.


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