Update on eligibility of athletes with Russian/Belarusian passport issued at World Archery Congress

World Archery flag.

Delegates at the 55th World Archery Congress in Berlin were informed on the progress of implementing the International Olympic Committee’s recommendation to assess a pathway for the return to competition of neutral athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport.

The update was given by vice president Jörg Brokamp, who chairs World Archery’s working group on Russia and Belarus.

That group, whose other members are athlete committee chair Crystal Gauvin, executive board member Jean Michel Cleroy and secretary general Tom Dielen, met on 10 May 2023 to define the sport’s approach.

A procedure to independently vet participant neutrality was agreed.

This procedure would require the submission of personal data on prospective athletes and officials by the archery federations of Russia and Belarus. It would use an independent data company to complete a primary investigation into the neutrality of the listed persons, with a second available should further clarity be necessary.

It was also agreed that any individual who was linked to CSKA or Dynamo, two sports clubs linked to security forces, since the start of the war would not be deemed neutral.

Letters outlining the conditions were sent to the two national federations on 12 May.

On 25 May, the archery federation of Belarus stated that it would not submit any applications until the federation of Ukraine lifted its opposition to Belarusian athletes’ participation.

On 29 May, the archery federation of Russia responded by email to state it was working on lifting a restriction on supplying personal data. There has been subsequent communication on clarifying the process.

No assessment of the neutrality of prospective participants will begin until World Archery receives official acceptance of the proposed process from the national federations in Russia and Belarus.

The working group will continue to engage with both federations to implement the recommendation of the International Olympic Committee, and progress a return to competition for neutral athletes.

Only two major events remain on the World Archery calendar this year – next week’s Hyundai World Archery Championships in Berlin and the fourth stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup (and Olympic test event) on 15-20 August in Paris.

(The Hyundai Archery World Cup Final on 9-10 September is closed entry and requires prior qualification.)

Since the procedure for assessing neutrality has not yet been agreed by the federations in Russia and Belarus, it is unlikely that athletes holding the passport of either nation will return to the field of play at a world competition in 2023.

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