MOSCOW, April 18. /TASS/. A choice of Ukrainian athletes to take part in the 2018 European Wrestling Championship, scheduled to kick off in Russia late this month, was the right decision to make, President of the Russian Wrestling Federation (RWF) Mikhail Mamiashvili told TASS on Wednesday.
The press service of the Ukrainian Wrestling Association announced on Tuesday afternoon that the national freestyle wrestling team planned to take part in the European Wrestling Championship this year in Russia despite the national sports minister’s recently announced boycott of all athletic competitions in Russia.
"We are very eager to welcome athletes from Ukraine just like the rest of the athletes and guests of the tournament," Mamiashvili said in an interview with TASS. "We will provide them with the most comfortable accommodation conditions as well as with the training facilities and will help with issues regarding the participation in the tournament."
"The decision to come to the tournament was made by the majority of (Ukrainian) athletes, coaches and experts since they do not want to be a part of pseudo-political actions," Mamiashvili stated. "I believe that it was the right decision of our Ukrainian colleagues to come to the tournament and we are anticipating their arrival."
The 2018 European Wrestling Championship is scheduled to be held between April 30 and May 6 in Russia’s southern city of Kaspiysk. Athletes representing 32 countries are expected to compete during the championship in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling both in men and women competitions.
"We are expecting a delegation of about 30 people from Ukraine for the championship and the Ukrainian athletes will participate in all competitions of the championship’s program," the RWF president said. "They (Ukraine) have a very strong team, particularly the female wrestling team."
"We will do our utmost in Kaspiysk to make (Ukrainian) athletes feel comfortable and not deprived of the attention and passion on behalf of all fans," Mamiashvili said. "The (Ukrainian) ban to travel (to Russia) cannot be explained."
"It seems that there is a certain task to put an end to all communications between athletes of our countries," he said. "Trying to ditch the great history and grand traditions is a very primitive and dirty attempt."
In mid-March, Ukrainian Sports Minister Igor Zhdanov issued an official directive banning national athletes from participating in all sports competitions held on the territory of Russia.
President of the United World Wrestling (UWW) Nenad Lalovic said at that time that Ukraine’s possible boycott of the 2018 European Wrestling Championship in Russia would split the wrestling family and such decisions were inadmissible.
A document signed by Ukrainian Sport Minister Zhdanov on March 14 stated that athletes of Ukrainian national sports teams had been banned not only from participating in Russia-hosted competitions, but travelling to Russia for training camps as well.
Besides hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup (June 14-July 15) and the IBU World Cup in Tyumen (March 22-25), Russia is also the venue this year for the 2018 European Wrestling Championship (April 30 - May 6), the 2018 IIHF U18 Ice Hockey World Championship (April 19-29), the 2018 World University Boxing Championship (September 2-7) as well as the WTA and ATP tennis tournaments.