Vladimir Salnikov was asked by Match TV about discussion online doubting the validity of results at the recent Russian Championships, and the All-Russian Swimming Federation president didn’t hold back with a fiery response on Sunday.
“All these statements are the destiny of the weak,” Salnikov said. “They get jealous, they make up ridiculous fantasies about the length of the pool, something else. All this causes a slight bewilderment.”
As for the doping allegations frequently hurled at Russia, Salnikov said that “process of testing never stops.” He added that Russia tests its athletes more than most other countries.
“Such statements are weakness,” Salnikov said, referring to doping allegations. “It means they are afraid.”
The dialogue was sparked by a huge world record in the 200-meter breaststroke courtesy of 18-year-old Evgeniia Chikunova, who blazed a 2:17.55 in Kazan to obliterate Tatjana Schoenmaker’s previous mark of 2:18.95 from the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. She dropped three seconds off her previous best from last July, but it wasn’t an entirely shocking result given that she narrowly missed the world record in the SCM 200 breast last November, falling .13 seconds of Rebecca Soni’s standard with a 2:14.70.
“She deserves all the praise she can get,” Salnikov said of Chikunova. “Her motivation is admirable. This is an example of how to find motivation and show good results. We always expect good surprises from her, and most of the time she delivers.”
Chikunova’s world record represented the second by a Russian swimmer over the past six months. At last November’s Solidarity Games, 22-year-old Kliment Kolesnikov set a new world standard in the SCM 50 backstroke with a 22.11. On Sunday, World Aquatics confirmed that Kolesnikov’s record is currently being finalized and will be available in the rankings “in due course.”
World Aquatics has confirmed that Kliment Kolesnikov's World Record in the 50 short course meters backstroke is "currently being finalised" and the record will be available in the rankings "in due course."#swimming
— Braden Keith (@Braden_Keith) April 23, 2023