Kenyan Swimming Federation Banned Indefinitely By FINA

The Kenyan Swimming Federation has been banned indefinitely by FINA, according to a letter obtained by SwimSwam.

The country has been under temporary suspension for the past two years after failing to meet two deadlines for elections in 2020.

Now, according to a letter addressed to John Ohaga, the Chairman of the Sports Dispute Tribunal (SDT) and signed by FINA’s head of legal, Loic Loutan, the federation is banned from all FINA-related events until further notice.

The FINA Executive Board met on May 18 and ultimately concluded that it won’t propose the lifting of the Kenyan Federation’s suspension to the FINA Bureau “based on all current circumstances of this matter.”

Kenya’s sanctions are listed as follows:

  • Not permitted to participate in FINA Congresses and other FINA non-sporting events
  • Prevented to take part in and benefit from any FINA programs and related funding
  • Unable to nominate candidates for elections/appointments to any FINA offices or positions (such as the FINA Bureau, FINA committees or other FINA bodies)

For the athletes, Kenyans will be eligible to compete in FINA events and FINA-sanactioned events, but as neutrals.

“Their international representation would be as International FINA Athletes (IFA),” the letter says.

Two Kenyan swimmers, Swaleh Talib and Lucia Ruchti, are currently registered to compete at the upcoming FINA World Championships. They will be permitted to swim as IFA, FINA says, but they’ll be the sole Kenyan entrants.

According to Kenyan outlet The Star, Kenyan Swimming Federation elections were due last year following the enactment of a new constitution, but some members of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) went to court to stop them, citing universal suffrage.

Ohaga was called on by one of the federation’s stakeholders, Teddy Wamuyu, to ensure elections were held last September.

There is also a controversy over the country’s qualification system for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, a meet in which Kenya’s top swimmers will be focusing on instead of Worlds.

The Star says that swimmers including Rebecca Kamau and Maria Brunlehner, who both train abroad, have been “sidelined” because they didn’t swim their qualifying times in Kenya.

“Why would the swimmers spend thousands of dollars in airfare and suffer jet lag when the easiest option would have been to swim in a FINA-sanctioned event wherever they are,” the stakeholders said, according to The Star.

After eight swimmers were provisionally nominated, a group of four have seen selected to compete at the Commonwealth Games: Emily Muteti, Imara Bella Thorpe, Ridhwan Mohammed, and Monyo Monyo Maian.

Muteti was one of two Kenyan swimmers selected to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The other was Danilo Rosafio, who trains out of Loughborough University and also appears to have been denied entry into the Commonwealth Games because he’s abroad.

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Muhiha Kega
1 year ago

Two of the four swimmers selected are the children of the two top most officials of the federation. The impunity of it all.

Steve Schaffer
Reply to  Muhiha Kega
1 year ago

The swimmers selected for the CWG were the top two male and female FINA point scorers in their swims at the Kenya Trials meet. This was the published criteria by the Kenya Swimming Federation.

The National Olympic Committee of Kenya ultimately decides how many CWG spots each sport will be allowed based on funding. Swimming was allowed only 4 spots.

One might argue that the top four swimmers based on FINA points should have been selected – regardless of gender – in order to send the most talented swimmers, but that was not the published selection criteria. Had it been, then 3 women, the two selected plus Maria Brunlehner would have been selected as they were the top… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Schaffer
Muhiha Kega
Reply to  Steve Schaffer
1 year ago

Whatever. Do they have swimming pools in Kenya or they use fish ponds?

SuperSwimmer 2000
1 year ago

No Kenya? That battle for 104th place in the 50 free at Worlds just got real.

Reply to  SuperSwimmer 2000
1 year ago

Jason Dunford, Kenyans swimmer that placed 5th in the final of the 100fly at 2008 Olympics. Why throw shade? It takes time to build a good athlete, they don’t deserve your ignorance.

SuperSwimmer 2000
Reply to  Bytheblock
1 year ago

Meh. Whatever, hero.

Reply to  SuperSwimmer 2000
1 year ago

Alright bud let’s see you compete at worlds then

Jacob Whittle 46.90 in Paris
1 year ago

Kenya banned forever by Fina for not holding elections but Russia have dozens of athletes fail doping tests with state wide corruption and it’s all “let’s not punish athletes for other people’s digressions”

Reply to  Jacob Whittle 46.90 in Paris
1 year ago

Racism has always been the problem with these guys. If a poor African Country does something bad, they pay dearly for their sins but if another country like USA or Russia does the same thing they easily turn a blind eye.

Muhiha Kega
Reply to  Anonymous
1 year ago

This has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with corruption, incompetence and impunity.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Anonymous
1 year ago

And didn’t Mexico falsify a bunch of qualifying times a couple years ago? I don’t think they got in trouble for that

1 with Ukraine
1 year ago

Really glad Fina stood up to the Kenyans it’s about time they took substantial action on a regime the invades sovereign countries and annexes their territory illegally. I’ll sleep much better knowing FINA is on top of it

1 year ago

Good—FINA continuing to clean out the corruption from the last regime.

Reply to  Danolith
1 year ago

Corruption? Sounds more like incompetence.

Reply to  John
1 year ago

Can go hand in hand

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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