Russian and Belarusian swimmers and water jumpers are allowed to compete again as neutral athletes – if they meet certain conditions.
The swimming world association World Aquatics opens the door for Russian and Belarusian athletes. After extensive deliberations, the federation has decided on a set of criteria that will allow water sports enthusiasts to return from Russia and Belarus as neutral athletes, World Aquatics said.
The “strict criteria” that were worked out by a task force installed by the Presidium include: no active support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, no playing of the anthems, no presentation of the national flags and certain anti-doping measures. In addition, only one athlete from Russia and Belarus may start in a competition.
The world governing body also reported a survey of elite, junior and masters athletes, according to which 67 percent would support the participation of Russians and Belarusians as neutral athletes while at the same time adhering to strict criteria.
At the most recent swimming world championships in Fukuoka, Japan, the start of Russians and Belarusians was not yet allowed. However, World Aquatics has supported the recommendation of the International Olympic Committee for re-integration into world sport at an early stage.
Germany’s swimming star Florian Wellbrock saw this development critically. “Now the political situation between Russia and Ukraine hasn’t changed at all and suddenly there’s this turnaround,” the open water Olympic champion told the German Press Agency in mid-July: “I see that as problematic and can’t understand it. “