World Aquatics (formerly FINA) says that they have no update on the competitive status of Russian and Belarusian athletes heading into the new year.
Earlier this year, World Aquatics, after pushing off a decision as long as they could, barred Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in the FINA World Aquatics Championships when Russia invaded Ukraine. In response to that ban, Russia said that they wouldn’t send athletes to international competitions for the remainder of 2022. FINA said that Russian athletes would not be invited to any FINA events through the end of 2022.
But now that 2022 timeframe is expiring, and World Aquatics has declined to expand upon the status of Russia and Belarus, which provided support for the invasion.
“At this time, there are no further updates regarding the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in World Aquatics competitions,” a spokesperson said. Multiple follow-ups asking to clarify if that meant Russian and Belarusian athletes were still suspended, or if there is simply no information available, went unanswered.
World Aquatics did clarify that Olympic gold medalist Evgeny Rylov remains suspended until January 20, 2023
The suspensions have ultimately been muted. World Aquatics said that so long as Russian competitions continued to follow World Aquatics rules, the results and records set in those meets would be accepted and ratified by the governing body. Russian and Belarusian athletes have also been allowed to compete in competitions in other countries, so long as it was allowed by the host nation, and athletes from other countries have been allowed to compete in Russian and Belarusian competitions.
All-Russia Swimming Federation president Vladimir Salnikov also said earlier this year that he has been allowed to participate as normal in World Aquatics bureau meetings as well. The only practical outcome of the national suspensions, then, has been banishment from the 2022 World Aquatics Championships and the withdraw of hosting rights to the 2022 World Short Course Swimming Championships. The latter meet likely would have had very limited participation after Russia arrested and sentenced American basketball player Brittney Griner to 10 years in prison earlier this year.
Rylov’s suspension was independent of the Russian national ban. He was individually punished for appearing on stage, along with several other Olympians, at a pro-war event in Moscow on March 18, 2022. He was given a 9 month suspension beginning on April 20, 2022, which is due to expire on January 20, 2022.
Rylov won gold medals in both the 100 and 200 backstroke at the Tokyo Olympic Games, and he also swam on the silver-medal winning 800 free relay.
While FINA has time to decide on the future of Russia and Belarus before any swimming competitions begin, other disciplines will ramp up the pressure. The first leg of the FINA Open Water Tour for 2023 is May 20-21 in Italy, ahead of the multi-discipline World Aquatics Championships that begin on July 14.
The Artistic Swimming World Cup, however, begins on March 16 in Canada. Russia has recently been the world’s dominant artistic swimming power, so their ability to compete in that World Cup series is pretty significant. FINA has not yet announced the 2023 diving grand prix series schedule.
C’EST INJUSTE POUR LES ATHLETES
How is is that World Aquatics hasn’t released the schedule for some aquatics sports for 2023 and we are just a couple of days away from 2023? Appalling organization
Isn’t Putin still a ‘special friend’ of FINA? To be credible they should cancel that award
Grow some balls and become a leader FINA!!!!
So much dirty money coming in to WA (FINA) from Russia and China it is hard for them to make any sensible decisions.
Russia should remain banned. WA Bureau needs to practice what it preaches
WA won’t do anything with the corrupt captain at the helm
I feel athlete’s should be able to compete ! If countries want to boycott then do so . I want to see the best compete ! I don’t wanna have a conversation with Caitlin Jenner any more than I do with Lebron James , we watch for the sport an to see the best challenge themselves