Russia-Ukraine war impacts on world sports
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
THE big talk in the world these days is the brewing conflict between Russia and Ukraine that started last February 20, that has turned from bad to worse. The crisis turned into full-fledged war and thousands of people already lost their lives and wounded.
As we are seeing today, the sudden impact of the war on the global economy led many people to panic what with the surge in oil prices in the world market. Worse, surprise of surprises is the impact of it on world sports. Some world sports events and competitions were not spared and forced many host organizers to suspend scheduled events just like what happened to judo. Unfortunately, the honorary president of the International Judo Federation (IJF) is the Russian president himself Vladimir Putin.
Aside from the economic sanction imposed by the United Nations (UN) on Russia, many nations decided not to participate in any kind of sports tiff that include participation of Russia and its neighbor country Belarus. First to shout out were Sweden, Czechoslovakia and Poland. They refused to play against Russia in the coming European football play-offs tournaments on March 24 to be hosted by Moscow en route to the prestigious World Cup. Then, Russia was expelled from the 2022 World Cup after being suspended from all international competitions. This was announced by the European football principal entity UEFA and finally echoed by the world governing body, FIFA. France is the defending World Cup champ that won the title in 2018 hosted by Russia.
Other sports events where Russia and Belarus are supposed to participate that were suspended indefinitely are lawn tennis, car racing (Formula One) with Russia as host, fencing, rugby, chess, badminton, taekwondo, ice hockey (Russia was stripped of the right to host the 2023 junior world championships). Russia’s cultural and musical events were also canceled because no country wants to participate.
In professional boxing, the world’s top four of six biggest groups spearheaded by the oldest World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Organization (WBO) and the International Boxing Federation (IBF) said in a joint statement that they will not sanction any boxing championship fight any place in Russia to protest Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
I doff my hat to the four organizations for their move. Russia should really be made to pay the price at all costs.
Remember, the Russians and Ukrainians are mortal enemies in European professional boxing and many Ukrainian boxers already became world champions, too, like our countrymen. Among them are the Klitschko brothers, Vitaly and Wladimir, who won both the heavyweight titles years ago, former featherweight, junior lightweight and lightweight champion the 34-year-old well-known Vasily Lomachenko who is slated to face the undisputed world champion George Kambosos. The two-time Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko (2008 Beijing, 2012 London) and two-time World Championship (2009 and 2011) gold medal winner is troubled because he was called to serve in the Ukraine’s reserve army (like the Klitschko siblings). He wonders how he can pursue his boxing career under the circumstances. He is duty-bound to defend his country.
2012 London Olympic heavyweight gold medalist and world ex-cruiserweight and heavyweight undefeated titlist Oleksandr Usyk also find themselves in the same situation.
Let’s see how the peace summit between USA and Russia will turn out. Hopefully, the conflict will soon end and the world of sports will be able to continue to crowning victors. Let’s just wait and see.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. MATTHEW 24: 6
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