NOCRB President Viktor Lukashenko, left, met with the head of the Russian Judo Federation Sergei Soloveichik, right ©NOCRB

National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus (NOCRB) President Viktor Lukashenko has met with Russian Judo Federation counterpart Sergei Soloveichik to discuss the development of the sport in both countries.

Russia and Belarus have been suspended from International Judo Federation (IJF) competitions until January 2023 because of the war in Ukraine, after the governing body had been one of the few to not fully follow the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) recommendations on the non-participation of athletes from both countries by permitting them to compete as neutrals.

During the meeting, Lukashenko and Soloveichik discussed the holding of joint training camps and competitions in Russia and Belarus.

Lukashenko, who is the son of authoritarian Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko and whose election as NOCRB President is not recognised by the IOC, claimed that competing with Russian athletes would help to enhance the performance of Belarusian athletes.

Soloveichik welcomed the cooperation between Russia and Belarus in judo.

"Our countries have long-standing good sports traditions," he said, as reported by Russian state news agency TASS.

"Athletes and leaders of the judo federation not only successfully cooperate, but are truly friends.

"It is especially pleasant to note Viktor Lukashenko's genuine interest and warm attitude to our sport."

Russian and Belarusian athletes are suspended from IJF competitions until January 2023 ©Getty Images
Russian and Belarusian athletes are suspended from IJF competitions until January 2023 ©Getty Images

Russia and Belarus have largely been frozen out of international sport since the IOC announced its recommendations to International Federations on February 28.

Soloveichik stepped down as European Judo Union President following the invasion of Ukraine, a position he had held since 2007.

However, the IOC did entertain a proposal at the Olympic Summit earlier this month that could allow them to compete in Olympic Council of Asia qualifying events for Paris 2024.

At the World Judo Championships in Tashkent earlier this year, not attended by Russia and Belarus, IJF President Marius Vizer claimed that the organisation "saved lives" by not banning Russian and Belarusian athletes at the start of the war in Ukraine.