— Published 3 October 2023

Eligible for the form

The trend is continuing: Russian swimmers do not seem ready to take to the water in international competitions as neutral athletes. After Evgeny Rylov, the two-time reigning Olympic champion (100m and 200m backstroke), another medallist from the Tokyo 2020 Games has made it known that he has no intention of taking part in the events if he has to comply with the neutrality conditions imposed by World Aquatics. However, 23-year-old Ivan Girev (pictured above), silver medallist with the 4x200m relay at the last Summer Games, is directly concerned, as he is the first – and so far the only – Russian swimmer declared eligible by the international body. According to Vladimir Salnikov, President of the Russian Swimming Federation (RSF), the young sprinter will not compromise. “Ivan Girev has made his position clear, Vladimir Salnikov told TASS. As far as I know, he has not asked for neutral status. How did he end up on this list? That’s a question for him to answer. Maybe, out of curiosity, he decided to see what they would say, a statement or something. Maybe there were other reasons. But he didn’t want to receive this status.” At the beginning of September, World Aquatics decided to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part in international competitions under neutral status. But probably not before the end of the current year. They could make their return at the World Championships in Doha in February 2024.