Russian and Belarusian athletes won’t participate in the 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest (18 June – 2 July).
On March 1, FINA announced that it had decided to allow Russians and Belarus to compete as neutral athletes and teams. Several days after, FINA issued a new announcement and said that it could potentially prevent athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus from attending any upcoming FINA event if their attendance would threaten the safety and wellbeing of athletes or places the conduct of competition at risk.
In today’s press release, FINA confirmed that Russia and Belarus wouldn’t participate in the Budapest Championships. Besides, the Russian Swimming Federation informed FINA of the withdrawal of all Russian aquatics athletes from all FINA events for the rest of this year.
In today’s Press Release, FINA announced:
“Further to the FINA Bureau’s decision on 8 March 2022 and the new measures at its disposal to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from FINA competitions, and following the review of an independent risk assessment, the FINA Bureau met today and confirmed that athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus will not take part in the upcoming 19th FINA World Championships Budapest 2022.
Following these decisions, FINA was informed by the Russian Swimming Federation of the withdrawal of all Russian aquatics athletes from all FINA events for the rest of this year.”
FINA underlined that it maintained its strongest condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and also reiterated its commitment to supporting the Ukraine Swimming, Diving and Artistic Swimming Federation as they prepare for upcoming competitions.
Which water polo teams replace Russia?
Both Russian water polo teams have qualified for the World Championships. So, two non-qualified teams will be invited to replace Russia.
As for men, Russia qualified as the eighth-placed team at the 2020 European Championships. The Russian male team should be replaced by Georgia, which finished 10th at the 2020 Europeans.
The female national team of Russia secured its World Championships berth winning bronze at the 2021 World League Super Final. Canada won 4th place in the World League, so the Canadians will replace Russia.
But, Canada’s women are among the four teams that qualified through the Olympic tournament. Canada finished 7th in Tokyo, ahead of China. Therefore, China will earn one of the four qualification tickets that were allocated at the Tokyo Olympics.
However, China is also qualified as one of the representatives of Asia. The next non-qualified team from Asia is Japan, so the Japanese should be the 16th team at the women’s tournament in Hungary
FINA hasn’t officially announced the list of the participating teams at the water polo tournament in Budapest, but it will happen soon, since the draw is scheduled for April 12.
Participating teams at the 19th Water Polo World Championships (yet to be confirmed by FINA)
QUALIFIED TEAMS, MEN
World League: Montenegro (1st place in the World League), USA (2nd).
Olympic Games: Serbia (1st). Greece (2nd), Spain (4th), Croatia (5th)
European Championships: Italy (6th), Germany (9th), Georgia (10th)
Australia and Oceania: Australia
Africa: South Africa
Asia: Kazakhstan and Japan
America: Brazil and Canada
Pots for the draw
Line 1: Serbia, Greece, Hungary, Spain (the semifinalist of the Olympic Games)
Line 2: Montenegro, USA ( the finalists of the World League), Croatia, Brazil (America 1)
Line 3: Italy, Germany, Australia, Canada (America 2)
Line 4: South Africa, Kazakhstan, Japan, Georgia.
QUALIFIED TEAMS, WOMEN
World League: USA (1st), Canada (4th).
Olympic Games: Spain (2nd), Australia (5th), Netherlands (6th), China (8th)
European Championships: Italy (5th), Greece (6th), France (7th).
Asia: Kazakhstan and Japan
America: Brazil and Argentina
Australia: New Zealand
Africa: South Africa.
The water polo tournament will be played in four cities – Budapest, Szolnok, Sopron and Debrecen.
European Championships in Split
Russian water polo teams qualified for the European Championships in Split in late August and September. LEN suspended the Russian athletes until further notice. LEN will decide which teams will replace the Russians if they do not come to the ECH in Split. But, in view of the information that Russian athletes won’t participate in FINA events until the end of the year, it’s likely that they won’t compete in LEN events, too.
The draw for the European Championships is scheduled for April 23.
Qualified teams, Men – Teams ranked 1st – 8th at the 2020 Europeans: Hungary, Spain, Montenegro, Croatia (also as a host), Serbia, Italy, Greece, Russia, Qualifiers: France, Georgia, Germany, Israel, Malta, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia.
Qualified teams, Women -Host: Croatia, Teams ranked 1st – 5th at the 2020 Europeans: Spain, Russia, Hungary, Netherlands, Italy, Qualifiers: France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Romania, Serbia.