PARIS (AP) — A fencing World Cup in France was canceled on Friday after the international governing body voted to let Russians compete.
The French Fencing Federation said it would not host the men’s Challenge Monal epee tournament near Paris in May following the International Fencing Federation’s decision this month to end the year-long exclusion of competitors from Russia and its ally Belarus due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The decision led to a backlash when more than 300 fencers signed a letter of protest and the organizers of another World Cup in Germany withdrew as hosts.
Organizers of an upcoming competition in Poland have said they will demand Russians and Belarusians sign a statement saying they do not support the war.
The FIE voted to readmit Russians and Belarusians at events from mid-April, even before the International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday it wants sports to allow them to compete again as neutral athletes, as qualification for next year’s Paris Olympics ramps up. The IOC has recommended conditions including no Russian or Belarusian entries in team events and a bar on athletes who are contracted to the military, but the FIE has yet to confirm if it will comply.
Fencing is an influential sport in Olympic circles. IOC president Thomas Bach is a former fencer who won gold at the 1976 Olympics. Russia’s and Ukraine’s national Olympic bodies are headed by ex-fencers.
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