FINA has subtly answered any questions about a potential change-of-venue for the 2015 World Championships in protest of Russia’s political action in Ukraine on Friday by awarding president Vladimir Putin the FINA Order recognition.
This honorary award is the highest recognition of this type that FINA gives, and “is granted to Heads of States or individuals of high dignity, who have achieved remarkable merit in the world of Aquatics.”
Specifically, FINA says that they are recognizing his “important support in the organisation of major FINA events in Russian soil, thus bringing additional development to the FINA disciplines and providing increased value to Aquatics within the Russian society and worldwide,” according to a press release.
“Russia is undoubtedly one of the most important and major powers in world sport. These achievements are only possible thanks to the active support from the Russian authorities to Aquatics. The personal involvement of President Putin in this area greatly contributes to strengthen the fraternity between nations, improve the lifestyle and education of the youth in Russia and promote a healthier society, in a spirit of peace and friendship”, considered the FINA President during the ceremony.”
Among the swimming-centric criticisms of Russia of late has been a high number of positive doping tests as well, including notably the stripping of 2 World Records after Yulia Efimova tested positive late last year.