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Russian Olympic Games gold-medal winner. File picture: REUTERS/ALEKSANDRA SZMIGIEL
Russian Olympic Games gold-medal winner. File picture: REUTERS/ALEKSANDRA SZMIGIEL

Swimming’s world governing body Fina said on Friday it had suspended Russian Olympic gold medallist Evgeny Rylov for nine months, after he attended a rally in Moscow in support of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

Rylov, who won gold in the 100m and 200m backstroke events at 2021’s Tokyo Olympics, was among several athletes who attended a huge rally at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium in March hosted by President Vladimir Putin.

Rylov and other athletes wore the letter “Z” on their outfit, an identifying symbol used by supporters of what Russia calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Fina said the suspension came following Rylov’s attendance and conduct at an event held at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

There was no immediate reaction from Rylov, who also lost his sponsorship deal with swimwear maker Speedo over his presence at the rally.

Fina has already cancelled all its events that were set to take place in Russia and has barred Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from taking part in its competitions until the end of the year. 

Reuters


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