Fencing-Italy limits Russian participation at world championships

FILE PHOTO: Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Fencing - Women's Team Sabre - Gold medal match - Makuhari Messe Hall B - Chiba, Japan - July 31, 2021. Sofia Pozdniakova of the Russian Olympic Committee reacts REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - Italy plans to impose restrictions on athletes from Russia and Belarus who will be allowed to compete at the fencing world championships in Milan in July, the head of its National Olympic Committee (CONI) said on Tuesday.

Sofia Pozdniakova, the Olympic champion daughter of Russia's Olympic Committee president, will be one of those to face exclusion under the restrictions, which are prompted by advice from the Italian government.

Only 11 athletes from the countries are expected to attend against an initial figure of 39 who had registered, and they will have to compete as neutrals in line with International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidance.

"They won't have flags, the name of the country, the anthem nor the national kit, and will be obliged not to make statements in support of the war," CONI President Giovanni Malago told Italian media, referring to the conflict in Ukraine.

The athletes will not be able to compete in team events and none with links to military teams will be admitted, he added.

Pozdniakova is affiliated to the Central Sports Army Club (CSKA) Moscow.

(Writing by Keith Weir, editing by Christian Radnedge)

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