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MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. In line with regulations of the International Swimming Federation (FINA), Russian Olympic medalist in swimming Arkady Vyatchanin must spend 12 months living in Serbia after changing his sporting citizenship to be allowed to participate under the flag of his new country, Vladimir Salnikov, the president of the All-Russian Swimming Federation, said on Thursday.
The Serbian Swimming Federation said in its statement earlier on Thursday that Vyatchanin decided to apply for the Serbian citizenship after announcing last April that he quit competing for his native country.
“The procedure of changing sporting citizenship is described in the FINA regulations and they are open to public access,” Salnikov, who is also a member of FINA bureau, told TASS. “If a swimmer wants to perform in the world championship he must be living for at least 12 months in the country, where he wants to obtain citizenship.”
The next Swimming World Championship will be held in July-August this year in the Russian city of Kazan, the capital of the republic of Tatarstan.
“There is a certain procedure and it is not a subject to violations,” Salnikov said. “All requests filed by an athlete must be approved by FINA. If an approval from FINA is granted there is no need for an approval from the All-Russian Swimming Federation.”
Salnikov also said that Vyatchanin was neither a member of the Russian national team nor did he belong to any sport club in the country and therefore “the fate of Vyatchanin is not a subject of relations with the All-Russian Swimming Federation.”
“Everything that he currently does is his personal responsibility,” Salnikov added.
The Serbian Swimming Federation said in its statement on Thursday that it had initiated a procedure of obtaining the Serbian citizenship for Vyatchanin.
“With the assistance from the Ministry of Sport and Youth and the personal commitment of Minister (Vanja) Udovicic the procedure of obtaining the Serbian citizenship will be completed in the urgent term,” the statement said.
Vyatchanin, 30, announced his intention to leave the Russian national team and begin competing for a different country in April last year after the finals of the Russian Swimming Cup in Kazan.
His decision came as a result of a discord with the Russian Swimming Federation and his coaching staff. According to SwimSwam.com swimming news website, Vyatchanin was allegedly blocked last year from participating in the World Championship Trials.
The swimmer earlier expressed his willingness to compete for the United States and also stated readiness to perform at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro under the flag of the International Olympic Organization (IOC).
Vyatchanin, who holds the World Record in 200 meters backstroke short course since 2009, was a member of the Russian national team since 2000. The talented swimmer is dual bronze medalist of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, four-time European champion and three-time silver medalist of the World Championships.