The Russian and Belarusian athletes are now facing a crisis as the European Gymnastics just voted against their participation in the upcoming competitions.

FIG uplifts ban

After Russia and Belarus invaded Ukraine in 2022, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) barred their gymnasts from competing in any international competitions/Olympic-qualifying events, slimming their chances to qualify for the Summer Olympics in Paris next year.

But this decision was reversed in July of this year, as reported by Jonathan Crane of DW.

Following the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recommendations, the FIG decided to withdraw the suspension and allow the Russian and Belarusian gymnasts to compete starting January 1st, so long as they complied with its “ad hoc rules.” 

Gymnasts were thus allowed to take part in Olympic qualifying events as long as they joined the competitions as “individual neutral athletes,” did not actively support the war, or had no direct military affiliation. 

Although this is the case, the FIG added that the IOC will ultimately have the last word regarding their eligibility for the Olympics. 

The president of the FIG, Morinari Watanabe, also reaffirmed his belief that athletes who are not engaged in the conflict ought to be granted equal opportunities to compete.

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European Gymnastics opposes FIG’s decision

A few months after this declaration, however, the General Assembly of European Gymnastics chose not to accept FIG’s ruling and voiced their disapproval of permitting the aforementioned athletes to participate in the official European gymnastics tournaments next year. 

The likelihood of their gymnastics team qualifying for the Olympics is now doubtful due to this vote.

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