Olympics-Some Russians make the cut for Paris Olympics but others fail vetting process

FILE PHOTO: The Olympic rings displayed on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower

By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - The first batch of Russian and Belarusian athletes have been cleared to compete at next month's Paris Olympics, with a total of 25 making the cut but others failing an International Olympic Committee vetting process over the war in Ukraine, the IOC said on Saturday.

The IOC said that in some sports Russia and Belarus would have athletes to fill their allocated quotas, including road cycling and trampolining, but in others such as taekwondo no qualified athlete from either country had met eligibility criteria after vetting to be given a spot.

A total of 25 athletes from Russia and Belarus were cleared for 41 quota places and those left free will now be distributed to other countries.

In total, Russia cleared 14 athletes for 24 allocated spots, while 11 Belarusian athletes passed the process for 17 spots.

"The Panel was in a position to benefit from new information from various sources, in particular official lists of athletes affiliated with sports clubs of the military and the security forces published on official websites in Russia and Belarus," the IOC said.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the IOC initially recommended a ban from international competitions of athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus, but it has since allowed them to qualify for the Paris Olympics as neutrals.

Each qualified athlete must undergo the vetting process by a three-member panel appointed by the IOC to make sure they meet eligibility criteria.

Not having actively supported the war in Ukraine and not having been contracted to any military or security agency are among those criteria.

The IOC has said it expects to see about 36 Russian and 22 Belarusian athletes competing as neutrals in Paris.

The maximum number, depending on qualification standards and country quotas, and which is unlikely to be reached, would be 54 and 28 respectively.

It is widely expected within the IOC that Russia will appeal against this decision at the Court of Arbitration of Sport.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Clare Fallon)