The International Modern Pentathlon Union has appointed a panel to decide on the reinstatement of Russians and Belarusians ©Getty Images

The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has appointed a five-person panel to determine which Russian and Belarusian athletes meet the criteria to compete as neutrals.

Egypt's three-time Olympian Aya Medany, an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, will chair the group which will also consider the timeframe for athletes allowed to return.

It follows the IOC Executive Board recommending in March that individual Russian and Belarusian athletes should be allowed to return to competition as neutrals, if they are not openly in support of the invasion of Ukraine or affiliated to the military.

This rolled back the original IOC stance after Vladimir Putin launched his invasion in February 2022, which called for an outright ban.

The UIPM announced it would fall into line and allow Russian and Belarusians back in April, and confirmed its intention to set-up the panel.

Ukrainian pentathletes responded by releasing a video in opposition to the decision, and the country has pledged to boycott any sporting event where Russians and Belarusians are present.

Guatemala's UIPM Technical Committee member Ana Ruth Orellana will also take a seat on the panel, alongside South Korea's Sungjoo Park, the director of the Institute of Sport Ethics.

Nishanthe Piyasena, the Chef de Mission for Sri Lanka at the delayed Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games this year, and Harald Vervaecke, a UIPM Commission for Culture and Education member from Belgium, have also been given roles.

Egypt's Aya Medany has been named as the chair of the panel ©Getty Images
Egypt's Aya Medany has been named as the chair of the panel ©Getty Images

"First I would like to underline that UIPM is unwavering in its solidarity to the Ukraine modern pentathlon community, and we will continue to support athletes who are affected by the invasion of Ukraine in any way possible," said UIPM President Klaus Schormann.

"On behalf of the UIPM Executive Board I express my deep satisfaction that the individuals appointed to sit on this review panel are highly qualified and objective, bringing a wide variety of expertise to this complex task.

"The panel will ensure that all neutral athlete applications are thoroughly considered and assessed based on the criteria agreed with the IOC. 

"This follows UIPM's commitment given to supporting a pathway for athletes with Russia and Belarus passports to return to UIPM sports.

"I take this opportunity to reaffirm our firm commitment to a policy of non-discrimination in the UIPM sports movement."

Medany is a two-time world champion who competed at the Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games.

She is a serving member of the Egyptian Parliament and a member of the IOC Athletes' Commission, IOC Olympics 365 Commission and IOC Public Affairs and Corporate Communications Commission.

The 34-year-old formerly chaired the UIPM Athletes' Committee and is a member of the UIPM Women's Commission.

She is the chair of the Athletes' Commissions at both the Egyptian Olympic Committee and the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation.

Orellana won silver at the Pan American Championships and is an international judge in modern pentathlon.

The former secretary general of the Guatemala Modern Pentathlon Association also won bronze at the Central American and Caribbean Games in fencing.

Park is a professor who majored in sports ethics at Kookmin University.

The panel will also rule on the timeframe for Russian and Belarusian pentathletes who are allowed to return ©Getty Images
The panel will also rule on the timeframe for Russian and Belarusian pentathletes who are allowed to return ©Getty Images

He is a published author in multiple journals and academic publications.

Piyasena is the President and founding member of the Modern Pentathlon Federation of Sri Lanka, and assistant secretary general of the Asian Modern Pentathlon Confederation.

He is a member of the UIPM Sport for All Commission and a former international judge, as well as holding roles with Sri Lankan cycling and triathlon.

Vervaecke is President of the Belgian Modern Pentathlon Federation and secretary general of the International Lifesaving Federation.

He is a former director of sport at the International Military Sports Council.

Modern pentathlon is currently undergoing a period of unprecedented change, with the riding discipline set to be replaced by an obstacle race.