It might not be long before the Kenya Swimming Federation (KSF) is back on FINA’s good side again.
KSF stakeholders are set to meet with the world governing body on Thursday to discuss practical solutions for their repeated failure to hold elections.
The KSF was first suspended by FINA in 2019 pending new elections in compliance with international rules. Three years later, in May of 2022, the federation was banned indefinitely after failing to meet two deadlines for elections in 2020.
The sanctions have kept Kenyan athletes from competing under their home nation’s flag while also preventing officials from participating in the FINA Congress and other non-sporting events.
“As it is, Kenyan swimmers have been gracing events but not under the Kenyan flag, and stakeholders would want this to change,” said Francis Mutuku, secretary general of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK). Mutuku is one of three members of the FINA Stabilization Committee along with Jace Baidoo and Moses Benson Mwase that has been overseeing KSF’s day-to-day operations since July.
Kenyan swimmer Swaleh Talib is among those looking forward to the ban potentially being lifted soon. Talib was one of four Kenyan male swimmers who earned a spot at the Commonwealth Games in August, but he was ultimately left off the team after budget cuts forced KSF to cut its roster in half.
Talib spoke to SwimSwam about the possible impact of being free from FINA’s sanctions, calling the upcoming meeting “a step in the right direction.”
“I think it would have a positive impact as it would bring back some level of trust moving forward which could open certain doors in terms of maybe funding or development opportunities for national swimmers and the swimming fraternity,” Talib said. “This would be a great opportunity for us.
“I personally felt at the World Championships in Budapest that because of the ban I wasn’t representing my country as I was competing under a suspended member federation banner,” Talib added. “With a possible lifting of the international ban it could bring back the excitement and patriotism of competing under the Kenyan national flag at these championships. I’m looking forward to the possibility and a step in the right direction.”