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Russian chiefs to defend swimmer amid probe into appearance at Putin event

The Russian Swimming Federation will help Tokyo 2020 gold medalist Evgeny Rylov fight a FINA disciplinary case

The Russian Swimming Federation has pledged to protect the interests of Tokyo 2020 double gold medalist Evgeny Rylov, after world governing body FINA opened a disciplinary case following the star’s appearance at a Moscow concert marking the reunification between Russia and Crimea. 

Rylov previously announced that he would not be competing at the World Championships in Budapest this summer as a protest against Russian athletes being barred from the Paralympic Games in Beijing earlier in March, and also lost a sponsorship deal with Speedo after being part of an estimated crowd exceeding 100,000 people that attended a concert at Moscow’s Luzhinki Stadium where President Vladimir Putin was present.

Rylov took to the stage with fellow Russian athletes at the event last week, and was seen wearing a jacket emblazoned with the ‘Z’ sign that has been used as a show of support for the Russian armed forces during the operation in Ukraine. 

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Swimmer Evgeny Rylov. © Alexander Vilf / Sputnik
Olympic champion stripped of Speedo deal after Moscow concert appearance

In a statement on Wednesday announcing a ban on Russian and Belarusian swimmers from international events and the removal of the 2022 World Short-Course Championships from the Russian city of Kazan, FINA also revealed plans to investigate Rylov over his appearance at the Moscow event.

The Russian Swimming Federation has responded by announcing on its website that it will “take over the protection of the interests” of Rylov in the case. 

FINA claimed that 100m and 200m backstroke king Rylov is suspected of potentially violating its rules due to his “alleged participation” in the event that celebrated the reunification of Crimea with Russia, and which was held under the banner ‘For a World Without Nazism’.  

“The FINA Executive has requested that the panel’s proceedings be expedited,” the governing body added.

In the same statement announcing it would protect Rylov, Russian swimming officials also said that amendments had been made to FINA’s letter to them which leaves the door open to participating in events other than the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, which Rylov dropped out of before FINA’s move to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes.

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FINA has reportedly suspended Russian and Belarusian athletes © Francois Nel / Getty Images
Swimming chiefs take action against Russia

“I believe that by losing competition, the development of sports is lost. No matter how sad it may sound, the sport cannot move without worthy competitors,” the 25-year-old Rylov said on social media announcing his personal boycott. 

The Russian Swimming Federation stated that “the FINA press release is incorrect” and apparently received a letter from FINA with the correct wording which means that Russian athletes might be able to appear in other competitions under neutral status. 

“The possibility of participating in other events is theoretically preserved, but FINA will now consider each specific case for the participation of Russians,” Vladimir Salnikov explained to Match TV.

https://ift.tt/7qjrU9m 24, 2022 at 09:35PM
from RT – Daily news

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