World Triathlon, the international governing body for triathlon, has announced a ban stopping Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from participating in the sport for the foreseeable future.
The move comes in response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and follows the recommendation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
In its announcement, World Triathlon wrote: “World Triathlon stands in absolute solidarity with the Ukraine triathlon family and the entire country at this time of grave international crisis.
“Following the recommendation by the International Olympic Committee, World Triathlon Executive Board has unanimously decided not to allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes or officials in all international competitions or official events, following the principles of the Olympic Charter.”
The ban is set to be reviewed by the organisation’s Executive Board on a monthly basis and any further decisions will be taken with consideration of how the situation is evolving.
The IOC has also made the recommendation that organisations do not arrange any sporting events in Russia or Belarus, however, World Triathlon had already previously suspended the Russian Triathlon Federation in December 2021 for a year due to a high number of doping cases. This meant no events were permitted to take place in the country in 2022.
World Triathlon says it will work with Ironman and Challenge Family in order for them to follow these recommendations as well.
Challenge Family has already cancelled their event in Moscow with a statement saying: “Challenge Family condemns the actions of the Russian government and the violence and suffering they are inflicting on the people of Ukraine.
“It is, of course, untenable to organise an international sporting event in Russia in the current circumstances. Our local team in Moscow is as against the invasion as we are and we will continue to support them as part of our family.”
[Update] As of Wednesday morning (2 March), Ironman has now made a statement cancelling the 70.3 in St Petersburg, which was due to take place on 17 July 2022, and announcing it stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
World Triathlon has also set up an email account (firstname.lastname@example.org) which members of the triathlon community in Ukraine who are leaving or wish to leave can use to reach out and find families in other countries who may be able to host them.
Similarly, the email can also be used by anyone who’d like to help by hosting people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
Image credit: World Triathlon/Wagner Araujo