Runners from Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to compete in the Boston Marathon this month, race organizers said on Wednesday – another example of the countries’ growing isolation following the invasion of Ukraine .
“Like so many others around the world, we are horrified and outraged by what we have seen and learned from the reports in Ukraine,” Tom Grilk, head of the Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the marathon, said in a statement. “We believe that running is a global sport, and as such we must do what we can to show our support for the Ukrainian people.”
Citizens of Russia and Belarus who reside in other countries will still be allowed to participate.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the cooperation of Belarus, has led to both countries being excluded from a growing list of international cultural and sporting events, in addition to the economic and diplomatic sanctions to which they have been subjected. confronted.
Russia was not allowed to send an official national team to the recent Olympic Games, following revelations of systematic doping, but the sanction was mainly semantic; the Russian team competed under different names. The 2022 Winter Games in Beijing ended shortly before the Russian invasion on February 24.
The International Olympic Committee then recommended that athletes from Russia and Belarus be excluded from future events. FIFA, the international governing body of football, has effectively blocked Russia from qualifying for this year’s Men’s World Cup. Other sporting bodies have taken similar measures.
The Boston Athletic Association’s ban applied to the shorter 2022 races it runs, but the most famous by far is the marathon, one of the most prestigious in the world. It is scheduled for April 18, returning to its traditional calendar on Patriots’ Day, a holiday observed by several states to commemorate the start of the American Revolution.
Due to the Covid pandemic, the 2020 race has been canceled and the 2021 event has been postponed to October.
The association did not say how many Russian or Belarusian participants there were in this year’s race, but those countries are not distance running powerhouses. In the last Boston Marathon before the pandemic, in 2019, out of more than 30,000 participants, only 56 were from Russia and three from Belarus.