Fencing-Germany cancels World Cup event after Russia, Belarus readmitted

(Reuters) - Germany's fencing federation has cancelled a women's foil World Cup event after the sport's global governing body (FIE) reversed a ban on athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus, it said on Thursday.

Athletes from the two countries were banned from many international competitions after Russia invaded Ukraine last February in what Moscow calls a "special military operation".

More than 60% of nations voted to allow Russians and Belarusians to resume competing in FIE events at last week's extraordinary congress.

German federation (DFB) President Claudia Bokel, a team epee silver medallist at the 2004 Olympics, said the decision had triggered "heated discussions".

"Our solidarity goes to the people of Ukraine who are suffering from the war of aggression," Bokel said. "The German Fencing Federation accepts last Friday's decision.

"We now want to give a clear signal that we would have liked a different result and that we still see a large number of open implementation questions from the world federation, which make it impossible to carry out the tournament."

The competition was scheduled for May 5-7 in Tauberbischofsheim. Fencing's qualifying process for next year's Paris Olympics is due to begin in April.

Russian Fencing Federation President Ilgar Mammadov said he was not surprised by the DFB's decision.

"This is not the first country, others will refuse," Mammadov, a double Olympic gold medallist in team foil, was quoted as saying by Russian news agency TASS. "I will not criticise my colleagues.

"Of course, we expected such decisions. Those countries that cannot hold competitions on equal terms will not hold them. There will be others, they are in large numbers."

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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