The Swiss swimming federation has threatened to boycott the World Swimming Championships in Budapest, beginning June 18 and running through July 3, if Russian and Belarusian athletes will be allowed to compete.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
FINA, the Switzerland-based international aquatics federation, unlike most other sports federations, did not bar Russians from competing after Moscow launched a war against Ukraine. Instead, it decided to allow them to compete in the Hungarian capital in the same way as Belarus, meaning they are not allowed to use their national flag.
However, the Swiss federation said on Tuesday that it would not participate in the two-week-long world championships under the current circumstances, citing the safety of their athletes and the principle of fairness.
We have come to the conclusion that it is not appropriate to send athletes from Russia or Belarus to the World Championships in Budapest under their nationality or even under a neutral flag to receive permission from FINA to run and participate.”
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, LEN decided, in line with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recommendations, that athletes from Russia and Belarus would not be allowed to participate in the competitions. FINA spoke out against collective punishment last week, and the Athletes’ Committee supported it with a convincing majority.
The Swiss swimmers would have medal chances in Budapest after all: last year they won two bronze medals at the Tokyo Olympics, which was their best ever Olympic result.
The International Aquatics Federation (FINA) announced in early February that the 2022 World Championships will happen, but will not held at the originally planned venue in Fukuoka, Japan, and that Budapest was awarded with the hosting rights. The Hungarian capital will host the World Aquatics Championships between June 18 and July 3, 2022.
Recently, the president of the Hungarian Olympic Committee (MOB) confirmed that Russian and Belarusian athletes will be excluded from sporting events held in Hungary. Zsolt Gyulay mentioned an exception, namely the Formula 1 race held in Hungaroring.
featured image illustration via Tamás Kovács/MTI