LEN Bars Russian & Belarusians From Competing In Its Events

The Bureau of European Aquatics (LEN) has officially banned all Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from its events, sending out a press release on Thursday while offering a message of solidarity to Ukraine.

“LEN strongly condemns the actions of the Russian government supported by Belarus, in its invasion of Ukraine,” the organization said. “This act of war has shattered the lives of Ukrainian citizens and is totally against the spirit of sport.”

The LEN says that Russian and Belarusian athletes, teams and officials won’t be invited to any of its events until further notice, following the recommendations made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday.

“This is in line with recommendations of the International Olympic Committee and aims to overcome practical conditions related to the decisions of certain countries, as well as to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all athletes. LEN is committed to continue its work with FINA, the world aquatic governing body, to implement our respective positions and hope for a better future.”

As for FINA, the international governing body for aquatic sports has yet to follow suit and ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from its competitions. FINA has pulled the 2022 World Junior Championships out of Kazan, along with removing all of its other aquatic events scheduled to take place in Russia this year, except for the Short Course World Championships, which are slated to run in Kazan in December.

As a result of SC Worlds having yet to be moved, several national swimming federations have pulled their teams out of the meet if it were to be held in Russia.

The list of LEN events for 2022 includes the European Aquatics Championships in Rome, Italy, August 10-20, and the European Junior Swimming Championships in Bucharest, Romania, July 4-9.

LEN also announced that it will support a humanitarian initiative by the artistic swimming and diving federations in Croatia that will host Ukrainian athletes and family members as refugees.

“This project, which is supported by FINA, will allow athletes to continue training and representing Ukraine at international events,” LEN said. “This initiative is supported by Croatia’s Ministry of Sport and Tourism and hosts will include Zagreb, Zadar, Rijeka, and others.”

The LEN announcement came right around the same time that the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) declared that Russian and Belarusian athletes would be denied entry into the 2022 Beijing Paralympic Games. Initially, the IPC said the athletes could compete as neutrals under the Paralympic flag, but numerous nations and athletes threatened to withdraw if that decision were to hold up.

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Miguel
4 months ago

So athletes are being punished just because of their nationality… That’s so stupid, and just wrong.

I get that now everybody is embracing the anti- Putin/Russia movement, but what have these atheles done? Did they all released statements to glorify Puntin, celebrating the aggression or whatever?

I kind of agree if competition might not be held in Russia anymore in order to make a statement but to ban them from competitions in my opinion is just an exaggerated petty move.

This narrative to encourage blind hate towards people just because Russian/ Belarusian is disgusting. This normalisation of discrimination against people is threatening and obnoxious.

Yozhik
Reply to  Miguel
4 months ago

I guess that the fact that Russian aggression against Ukraine banned effectively the participation of Ukrainian athletes at any sports events is ok with you. Males of age 18-60 are prohibited to leave country.
When I hear when Bolshunov the hero of last Winter Olympic Games says that the sickness of Norwegian team with covid is the God’s punishment for banning him from competition I don’t believe in innocence of “apolitical” Russian athletes. Don’t be naive. It was them who elected this president. It is they who do nothing to stop this insensitivity and bloodshed. It is them who are praising Putin for returning to Russia “what belongs to it” no matter how. It is them who proclaim/support the… Read more »

Matt
Reply to  Miguel
4 months ago

As much as you may disagree, international sport and nationalism are intertwined. By allowing Russian athletes to still compete then they could be used by the Putin regime to prop up his claims of Russian superiority vs the west and thus feed his domestic narrative of Russia vs the World.

ab88
Reply to  Miguel
4 months ago

Romanchuk is in Kiev fighting for his country. That’s enough to ban Russian athletes until this madness is over.

Success Leaves Clues
Reply to  Miguel
3 months ago

Not sure where you have been but 70% of Russians support this ‘special project’…. Putin uses ALL his national sportsmen and women to promote his ideals and his Russian ‘values’ – like banning independent media, state-sponsored doping, locking up his political enemies etc etc. To stop him you have to do this. And don’t get me started on the impact on the Ukrainians and their athletes – how exactly are they expected to fly around the world and compete when they are being bombed? Absolutely the right call LEN. Well done and hope FINA hurry up and do the same!! USA where are you??

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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