LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Swimming’s world governing body FINA is investigating after Russian swimmer Evgeny Rylov competed at the national championships while serving a ban for appearing at a rally in support of President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The double Olympic backstroke gold medalist was handed a nine-month ban from competition by FINA last week but was in the pool Sunday evening to race on the opening day of the national championships.
“FINA is aware that Mr. Rylov competed in the Russian Championships this weekend and has launched an internal review to ascertain whether FINA sanctions or rules have been broken,” FINA said in an emailed statement. “The outcome of this review will be announced in due course.”
Rylov was one of a group of Russian athletes who appeared on stage at last month’s rally in Moscow, which included an address by Putin and speeches backing military action.
FINA said last week that Rylov’s ban applies to “all competitions and activities organized or sanctioned by FINA”. The review of Rylov’s case is likely to consider whether the national championships fall into that category.
Russian Swimming Federation president Vladimir Salnikov, who has claimed Rylov’s ban was motivated by political bias, told state broadcaster Match TV on Saturday that the national championships didn’t count as a FINA event.
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