As expected, the International Fencing Federation (FIE) has confirmed that Russian and Belarusian athletes could again participate in its competitions. The decision was made at a convention on Friday. According The Team, 89 countries out of 136 voted in favor of their reinstatement. The Russians and Belarusians have been absent from the circuit since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
From April 3, they will again be able to participate in FIE competitions. This date corresponds to the start of the Olympic qualification period for the Paris 2024 Games. This will reshuffle the cards since Russia is one of the major nations in the discipline. It was she, under the banner of the Russian Olympic Committee, who had won the most medals at the Tokyo 2021 Games. But also at the European and World Championships in 2019.
A return to other disciplines?
This decision taken by the FIE is the first on the part of an Olympic discipline. Even if it is still subject to validation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Federation had already mentioned the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes last November but the idea had been rejected.
Since October, the International Boxing Federation has also authorized their return to competition. But it is still uncertain whether they can participate in the Olympics. In December, the Asian Olympic Committee for its part spoke in favor of their reinstatement. It was the same for the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) last week. The return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international sport is therefore more topical than ever.