Vladislav Larin was one of two Russian Olympic taekwondo champions to be banned from competing at the World Championships ©Getty Images

World Taekwondo has launched an investigation to see if any rules were broken after banned Russians Vladislav Larin and Maxim Khramtsov attended the World Championships in Baku.

It comes after Russia's national head coach Vadim Ivanov said that the Olympic gold medallists were "part of the team" at the event in Azerbaijan's capital last week.

Ivanov told Russia's state news agency TASS that the duo travelled to the World Championships and helped both coaches and athletes.

Both Larin and Khramtsov had been hoping to compete but they were blocked by World Taekwondo due to their open support for the invasion of Ukraine.

Twenty-three Russians were allowed to participate as neutrals and Ivanov praised the banned pair's impact.

"Larin and Khramtsov went to the World Championships in Baku as part of a team at the expense of the Russian Taekwondo Union," he said. 

"They helped not only the coaches, but also the guys, as the most experienced and titled athletes. 

"Larin and Khramtsov also watched the performances of their competitors, which was also important for them. 

"Vladislav and Maxim were part of our team."

When asked for comment on Larin and Khramtsov's role in Baku, World Taekwondo told insidethegames: "World Taekwondo is aware of these reports and is looking into the matter to determine if World Taekwondo's rules of participation were broken. 

"We will not make any further comment while this investigation is ongoing."

Larin won Olympic gold in the over-80 kilograms division at Tokyo 2020, where Khramtsov triumphed at under-80kg.

Maxim Khramtsov, pictured, and Vladislav Larin travelled to the event in Baku ©Getty Images
Maxim Khramtsov, pictured, and Vladislav Larin travelled to the event in Baku ©Getty Images

Russian Liliia Khuzina won a gold medal in Baku as an individual neutral athlete in the women's under-62 kilograms division.

She triumphed in front of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, who laid the path for Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to sport following the invasion.

The IOC's decision to lift its recommendation of an outright ban has led to several sports, including taekwondo, allowing athletes back if they do not support the war or are affiliated to the military.

Khuzina met Bach but said she did not press him on restrictions on Russian athletes, who competed without their flag or national anthem.

"What would I say to Bach?" she told TASS

"What can I ask him? 

"My task is to train and show results, I don't get into politics because I don't want to, and I don't have time to figure it all out."

Russian bears and dolls were among the items banned in Baku, Khuzina said.

"There could be absolutely no paraphernalia, it was impossible even to do a manicure in national colours," she said. 

"We were given an absolutely faceless uniform." 

Despite returning in Baku, Russians will not be allowed to compete at the Grand Prix in Rome this weekend, a Paris 2024 Olympic qualifier.

"At the next Grand Prix there may be some clarity in our question," said Ivanov.

"But skipping each stage has a very strong impact on the Olympic ranking.

"It was the first World Championship in my coaching career where athletes did not need additional motivation.

"They didn't need to be charged to fight, many of them were even motivated to go off scale.

"If we evaluate the team performance at this World Championships, then we won one medal more than at the previous World Championships in 2019 in the UK. 

Liliia Khuzina, right, won gold in Baku ©World Taekwondo
Liliia Khuzina, right, won gold in Baku ©World Taekwondo

"And this is taking into account the fact that two of our Olympic champions, Vladislav Larin and Maxim Khramtsov, were forced not to compete in Azerbaijan, and we could not declare anyone else in their weight categories."

Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin praised the team's performance after the squad also won four bronze medals in Baku.

"Our task is not to give up our position in the international sports arena, and the Russian national taekwondo team did an excellent job with this," he said. 

"It is a huge injustice that our famous Olympic champions Maxim Khramtsov and Vladislav Larin were not allowed to participate in the competition. 

"And the winner of this championship, Liliia Khuzina, did not hear the Russian anthem in her honour. 

"The sports principle should be above all, and this is our priority - we stand for the independence of the sports movement and will continue to follow this principle."