In a sign of a clear divide, nine of the 32 international sports federations, represented in the Paris Olympic program, continue to exclude Russian athletes from competition, a Kyodo News survey found Tuesday.

More than 20 federations have either decided to let Russians compete "as neutral athletes" as the International Olympic Committee advised in March or are considering it, with Wednesday marking the start of the one-year countdown to the games amid Russia's continued aggression in Ukraine.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach attends an IOC executive board meeting in Lausanne in March 2023. (Photo courtesy of IOC)(Kyodo)

The nine federations that continue to suspend Russians are those governing athletics, basketball, equestrian, football, handball, hockey, surfing, rugby and volleyball.

Many European governments oppose admitting Russian athletes to international sports events, while Ukraine has hinted at boycotting the Paris Olympics if Russians and Belarusians are allowed to compete.

The IOC has withheld its decision on whether to admit them to the Paris Olympics with its in-house survey suggesting that about 50 countries may boycott the games.

Meanwhile, some federations, including judo, fencing and taekwondo, support the IOC's stance against excluding athletes based on their passports.

Ukraine boycotted May's world judo championships, when Russians competed as neutral athletes.

Russian and Belarusians have competed in tennis tournaments without national symbols but players of other countries have often refused to shake hands with them.