KUALA LUMPUR: Badminton chiefs on Tuesday banned athletes and officials representing Russia and Belarus from participating at tournaments sanctioned by the world federation in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. It follows a call from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for sports federations and organisers to exclude competitors from the two nations. The Badminton World Federation, based in Kuala Lumpur, said it had toughened its measures in response to the IOC recommendations. “BWF has strengthened its measures against the governments of Russia and Belarus by suspending athletes and officials representing these countries from participating at any BWF-sanctioned international tournaments until further notice,” it said in a statement. “It also supports a united and coordinated approach within the sports movement in handing down sanctions against Russia and Belarus.” The federation had already announced it was cancelling all BWF-sanctioned tournaments in Russia and Belarus with immediate effect. The ban on athletes and officials will take effect at the German Open, starting on March 8.