World Aquatics wants to take its time before deciding the delicate issue of Russian and Belarusian athletes. Meeting this week, the board of the international swimming body expressed its support for the recommendations of the IOC Executive Board for the return of athletes from the two countries at war with Ukraine. But without taking a decision on their possible return. As a first step, World Aquatics wants to set up a working group to “explore a potential way for athletes with Russian or Belarusian passports to participate in future international competitions as neutral individual athletes“. It will be chaired by Maureen Croes, the head of Aruba and president of PanAm Aquatics, and will be composed of athletes and representatives of the swimming community. The body wants to give the working group time to analyze the situation and come up with proposals. Its report is not expected before the next board meeting, scheduled for July 2023. In the meantime, Russia and Belarus remain suspended from all international competitions.
— Published 7 April 2023