No Russian athletes in international korfball events

Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russian armed forces, on Friday the IKF condemned the attack and pledged support to the people of Ukraine, and in particular the korfball community in Ukraine.

Today, the Executive Committee of the International Korfball Federation, following the Recommendation issued by the International Olympic Committee, and in line with the decision announced today by the International World Games Association, has decided that the Russian Korfball Federation will not be invited until further notice to any international korfball competition. For any of this year’s events, the Russian Korfball Federation had not yet entered due to severe economic hardship of the Federation. This implies effectively that no Russian athletes shall take part in any international korfball event until further notice. Belarus is currently not a member country in the IKF, so Belarusian athletes are also not able to take part. Furthermore, the Russian Korfball Federation shall not be eligible to bid for the hosting of any IKF event until further notice. Currently, no IKF events have been planned in Russia.

The IKF continues to closely monitor the situation and is in close contact with the Ukrainian Korfball Federation, who has announced its intent to take part in the European Qualifiers for next year’s World Korfball Championship in Taipei. The European Qualifiers are held in October in the Czech Republic and in Turkey. The IKF will do whatever is in its power to enable a Ukrainian team to take part in this Qualifier, and to support the Ukrainian Korfball Federation.

Further, the IKF Executive Committee expresses explicit support to Russian athletes that are affected by the decisions of their government, especially those that have spoken up. Not being allowed to compete is the worst nightmare for any athlete, at any age. The IKF sincerely hopes that the war in Ukraine will evolve such that eventually no korfball athletes will need to be banned from events due to acts of war.

The IKF endorses activities by the national korfball federations of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland to support Ukrainian refugees.

Geert Keuning awarded the IKF Pin of Merit

The IKF has awarded its Pin of Merit to Mr Geert Keuning from Leeuwarden (Netherlands) for outstanding service for the development of korfball. In 1995 Mr Keuning was one of the initiators to organize a youth korfball team from Leeuwarden to travel by bus to Russia as part of the city’s friendship link with Orel. This trip served as the birth of korfball in Russia. Over the subsequent 20 years, Mr Keuning has continued to support the development of korfball in Russia, many years as the official IKF development officer for Russia. To this very date Mr Keuning is active as a supporter, mostly in the background, to assist the Russian with many practical matters. He has also maintained the korfball friendship link between Leeuwarden and Orel, which was captured in a TV documentary of the Frisian TV a few years ago. Apart from his volunteering for the IKF, Mr Keuning has been organiser of the U19 Korfball World Cup since 9 years on behalf of the KNKV to support the Local Organizing Committee of the U19 Korfball World Cup.

IKF President Fransoo presented Keuning with the Pin just before the final of this year’s 20th U19 Korfball World Cup; 5 April 2015.