PARIS: Russian and Belarusian athletes will be allowed to return to international badminton competitions from next February, the sport's governing body announced.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) said players from the two countries, who have been banned due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, would be able to compete as neutral athletes.
The International Olympic Committee is yet to decide whether or not Russians and Belarusians will be able to compete at next year's Paris Games.
But earlier this year the IOC did recommend that they could compete in Olympic qualifying events under a neutral flag.
"We feel the decision to lift the suspension on Russian and Belarussian athletes who meet the criteria to participate as individual neutral athletes is a positive step forward as part of our endeavour to promote peace and solidarity," said BWF president Poul-Erik Hoyer Larsen.
The BWF said the first steps towards reintegrating Russians and Belarusians would start this September. -- AFP