Intl. gymnastics body to let Russian, Belarusian athletes compete as neutrals

The head of the International Gymnastics Federation has announced he would like to have Russian and Belarusian athletes take part in international competitions as neutrals.

In March, the International Olympic Committee announced that it made recommendations to international sports federations so that athletes of the two countries can compete as neutral individuals.

The IOC also said the athletes must not have been contracted with military or national security agencies and teams of athletes cannot be considered.

On Tuesday, FIG President Watanabe Morinari said in a statement that he would like to follow the IOC's recommendations and accept such "individual neutral athletes" who are not involved in or supporting the war at international gymnastics events.

He also said the exclusion of athletes from the two countries remains for now, as the definition and method of verifying neutrality are not clarified.

He said the body's position on the "neutrality" requirement will be discussed at the next Executive Committee meeting in July.