/Russian swimmers call for action after Turkish star shares flag stomp
Russian swimmers call for action after Turkish star shares flag stomp

Russian swimmers call for action after Turkish star shares flag stomp

Ukrainian-born swimmer Viktoria Gunes posted someone standing on the Russian flag via Instagram Stories

Russian swimmers have called for their sport’s global governing body FINA to intervene after a Turkish rival of Ukrainian origin uploaded a photo of someone standing on Russia’s flag on social media. Viktoria Gunes was born in Poltava, Ukraine, in 1998 but became a Turkish citizen in 2014. On her Instagram Stories on Friday, she posted a photo where someone is standing on the Russian national flag.This came to the attention of Russian swimmers such as six-time Youth Olympics gold medalist Kliment Kolesnikov, European Aquatics Championships gold medalist Vladislav Grinev and recent Beijing 2020 athlete Maxim Stupin, who was a teammate of Gunes’ at Energy Standard before Russian athletes were banned from international competitions as a response to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. Kolesnikov, who was also on Energy Standard, shared the Stories post and added two question marks either side of an emoji of a man throwing his hands up in confusion.But Stupin and Grinev were far more vocal, and left the same message which asked: “Where are the boundaries of the permitted behavior of athletes?”“If you decide that it is humane to remove Russian athletes from participation in international competitions, then take action here as well. Nationalism is UNACCEPTABLE in any form,” they said, while, like Kolesnikov, tagging a number of bodies such as FINA, the European Swimming Federation (LEN), the International Swimming League (ISL) plus Team Energy.FINA has been busy this week regarding Russian swimmers after finally announcing a ban on their participation in international events much later than other sporting federations.The body also opened an investigation into Tokyo 2020 double gold medalist Evgeny Rylov, who is suspected of potentially violating their rules due to “alleged participation” in a Moscow concert that celebrated the reunification of Crimea with Russia and was held under a ‘For a World Without Nazism’ banner.“The FINA Executive has requested that the panel’s proceedings be expedited,” the governing body added in a statement that announced the blanket ban, though the Russian Swimming Federation claim that their correspondence from FINA was incorrectly worded and that “the possibility of participating in other events is theoretically preserved”.”FINA will now consider each specific case for the participation of Russians,” Vladimir Salnikov explained to Match TV about participation in events beyond the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest this summer.

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But Rylov, who has also lost his Speedo sponsorship, had already ruled himself out of the competition before FINA’s announcement in protest against Russian athletes being barred from the Paralympic Games in Beijing earlier in March.“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 announced on social media when revealing his boycott. 

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