Russian and Belarusian athletes not competing at 2023 World Championships

Photo by: Brenden Cowan

No athletes from Russia or Belarus are slated to compete in the swimming world championship this year in Japan as it is expected that the sport’s governing body won’t make a decision about their eligibility until it is too late for them to enter.

The task group will look at how Russia and Belarus might participate in swimming, diving and water polo as neutral athletes. In July — the same month as the world championships in Fukuoka — an update is anticipated. 

June 27 is the entry date for diving and swimming. The entry day for water polo is July 3. The competition begins on July 14. 

The International Olympic Committee requested last week that international sport governing bodies, including World Aquatics, look into methods to reintegrate Russian and Belarusian athletes with neutral status prior to the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.  

This was one of the three most prominent sporting events at the Olympics who got asked to reintegrate Russian and Belarusian players. Track and field committees and gymnastics committees have been asked to do the same, as similarly to the swimming world championships, they are not allowing Russian or Belarusian to compete at their world championships. 

According to the IOC, athletes who actively backed the conflict in Ukraine or who work for the armed forces or national security services should not be considered impartial. The IOC stated last week that Russia and Belarus should also continue to be barred from team sports. 

Within weeks after last year’s invasion of Ukraine, the majority of Olympic sports prohibited those nations from participating in or hosting international competitions. 

These decisions may affect the competition at the swimming world championship as in 2019 Russia placed third in the medal table, winning 12 golds, 11 silvers and 10 bronze medals.

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