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FINA suspends Olympic champion Rylov for nine months over Putin rally

FINA suspends Olympic champion Rylov for nine months over Putin rally

FILE PHOTO: Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Swimming - Men's 100m Backstroke - Final - Tokyo Aquatics Centre - Tokyo, Japan - July 27, 2021. Evgeny Rylov of the Russian Olympic Committee reacts after winning the gold medal REUTERS/Aleksandra Szmigiel

Swimming's world governing body FINA said on Friday (Apr 22) 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 100m and 200m backstroke events at last year's Tokyo Olympics, was among several athletes who attended a massive rally at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium last month 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 Mr 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.

Source: Reuters/zl
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