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MOSCOW, May 13. /TASS/. Russian Olympic medalist in swimming Arkady Vyatchanin was granted the Serbian citizenship, which he applied for in January this year, the Serbian Swimming Federation told TASS on Wednesday.
Born in Russia’s city of Vorkuta, Vyatchanin announced in April of 2013 his decision to quit competing for his native country and change his sport nationality. This January, the Serbian Swimming Federation stated that it initiated a procedure of obtaining the Serbian citizenship for Vyatchanin.
"Arkady Vyatchanin was granted the Serbian citizenship and received a passport," the federation said. "The Serbian Swimming Federation initiated a procedure of changing the sport nationality of the swimmer."
"In line with the regulations of the International Swimming Federation [FINA], a swimmer must be residing in the country for 12 months before his sport nationality can be changed," the federation said. "We are currently waiting for an official reply from FINA concerning the exact date, when Vyatchanin will be able to perform at the competitions under the flag of Serbia."
International sports regulations state that besides being granted the national citizenship, an athlete must resign in a new country for a definite period of time before he or she can be issued a new sport nationality and the right to compete under the flag of that country.
As all formal procedures are taken care of, ex-Russian swimmer Vyatchanin will miss the next Swimming World Championship in July-August this year in the Russian city of Kazan, the capital of the republic of Tatarstan.
Vyatchanin, 31, announced his intention to leave the Russian national team and begin competing for a different country in April 2013 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 two years ago 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.