By Matias Grez and Sammy Mngqosini, CNN
The International Swimming Federation (FINA), swimming’s global governing body, says it is investigating Russia’s Evgeny Rylov after the swimmer took part in his country’s national championships, despite receiving a nine-month ban just four days ago.
FINA announced on April 21 that it had suspended the two-time Olympic champion for attending a rally hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in March.
The rally commemorated the eighth year of Russia’s annexation of Crimea — which is deemed illegal by the Ukrainian government and not recognized in the West.
“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,” the organization told CNN in a statement. “The outcome of this review will be announced in due course.”
Rylov, a gold medalist in the 100 meters and 200 meters backstroke at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, said in March he would not be competing at the world championships, to be held from June 18 to July 3, in support of banned Russian athletes.
When Rylov stated his refusal to attend the world championships, FINA was one of the few sports governing bodies still allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Following Rylov’s announcement, FINA confirmed that athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus would not be able to take part in this year’s world swimming championships in Budapest, Hungary.
FINA said in a statement last Thursday that Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials will not be invited to any FINA competitions for the remainder of 2022. Belarus is a key staging area for the invasion.
CNN has reached out to Rylov and the Russian swimming federation for comment.
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