Russian and Belarusian athletes are set to remain excluded from World Archery competitions ©Getty Images

World Archery's Working Group chair has revealed the organisation remains "quite far away" from a return for Russian and Belarusian athletes, given responses to the required conditions from both countries' National Federations.

The World Archery Executive Board revealed plans to allow athletes from both countries to compete as individual neutrals in April, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) controversially lifted its outright ban.

The IOC recommended Russian and Belarusian athletes affiliated to the military or who have supported the war in Ukraine should remained barred from competition, and World Archery formed a Working Group was formed to develop a timeline for the return of those eligible.

World Archery vice-president Jörg Brokamp of Germany is chairing the Working Group, which he described at the World Archery Congress in Berlin as "the hardest task in my life".

The Working Group also consists of World Archery secretary general Tom Dielen of Switzerland and Executive Board members Jean-Michel Cleroy of France and Crystal Gauvin of the United States, who is also chair of the Athletes' Commission.

It approved criteria for the return of neutral athletes in May and a five-step process for this to be completed.

However, Brokamp claimed the International Federation had been told by Belarus it would net send any applications for athletes to compete as neutrals "until Ukraine lifts its opposition for them to participation", and no formal reply had been received from Russia.

The Russian National Federation told World Archery in May it was "working on lifting the restriction on supplying personal data", and asked for "more information" on July 16.

"We have no official answer and the answer form Belarus is self-explaining because Ukraine's position is very clear, so we are on step number two at the moment," Brokamp told delegates.

"It means if we will talk about a possible neutral individual athlete from Russia and Belarus, we have to get to step number five, so we are quite far away of that.

"That's the situation at the moment, and you know maybe better than me your calendar and all the international events set for 2023.

"I think I can say we won't have any Russian or Belarusian athletes in 2023 in any competition due to the situation I presented to you."

World Archery's Working Group on Russia and Belarus chair Jörg Brokamp said
World Archery's Working Group on Russia and Belarus chair Jörg Brokamp said "we won't have any Russian or Belarusian athletes in 2023" ©World Archery/YouTube

World Archery has only its World Championships starting on Monday (July 31) and a World Cup event in Paris from August 15 to 20 remaining as major open events this year, for which entries have already closed.

The five-step process covers conditions for participation, consent of Russia and Belarus' National Federations, the provision of relevant information about prospective individual neutral athletes, verification of such data by third-party companies and a final decision.

Russian and Belarusian athletes have been unable to participate in World Archery competitions since March last year due to the war in Ukraine, although neither National Federation was suspended, meaning both were permitted to attend the Congress at the Titanic Hotel.

However, Brokamp revealed Russia is not participating at the Congress.

World Archery President Uğur Erdener. who is also Turkish Olympic Committee President and an IOC member, said it is a "very difficult situation" and "there is an ongoing process".

The most recent archery medals from Russian athletes at the Olympic Games were at Tokyo 2020, when Elena Osipova won women's individual silver and contributed to a women's team silver for the Russian Olympic Committee.

Ukraine's voting delegate Vladyslav Sevryukov had earlier outlined the impact of the Russian invasion on archery and sport in his nation.

He thanked World Archery and National Federations who have provided support to Ukraine, including Germany, Poland, Britain, Turkey, Italy, France and Croatia.

Ukraine's voting delegate Vladyslav Sevryukov outlined the impact of the war on archery in the country ©World Archery/YouTube
Ukraine's voting delegate Vladyslav Sevryukov outlined the impact of the war on archery in the country ©World Archery/YouTube

"The war has caused terrible damage to Ukrainian archery," Sevryukov said.

"This led to the death of athletes and coach.

"Thousands of killed and injured Ukrainian children will never be able to become professional athletes."

Sevryukov added "out of a dozen sports centres, only two can host competition today" in Ukraine, and "competitions and training sessions are constantly interrupted by air alarms".

He insisted "there can be absolutely no participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competition and in the Olympic Games, even in the status of neutral athletes because neutrality is out of the question".

Most International Federations have followed the IOC and implemented its updated recommendations from March this year, although athletics and equestrian led by IOC members in Britain's Sebastian Coe and Belgium's Ingmar de Vos are among the notable exceptions.

Russia and Belarus were not among the 203 National Olympic Committees invited by the IOC to the Paris 2024 Olympics to mark one year to go yesterday, although a decision on whether their athletes can compete has not yet been taken.

The decision is expected to be taken at the IOC Session in Mumbai in October.

Critics argue Russian and Belarusian athletes would be used for political purposes by both nations and there should be no place for either country in international sport while the war in Ukraine is ongoing, but officials in Russia and Belarus have claimed the conditions for the return of their athletes are discriminatory.

The IOC has described its stance as a "middle ground".