BREAKING: Authorities Accuse Uzbekistan of Blatant Cheating in Swimming Qualifications Ahead of Tokyo Olympics 2021

Published 07/12/2021, 11:44 AM EDT
Tokyo 2020 organising committee vice-president Toshiaki Endo speaks with Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto (R) after the five-party meeting in Tokyo, Japan July 8, 2021. Behrouz Mehri/Pool via REUTERS


In a world where athletes work tirelessly to achieve success, there is no place for cheating. Manipulation of times is strongly condemned in the world of swimming, and the Uzbekistan Swimming Federation was recently slapped with a stern judgment ahead of the Tokyo Olympics 2021. 

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What happened with the Uzbekistan Swimming Federation?

The Uzbekistan Swimming Federation held two international events that helped athletes gain Olympic qualifications. One of them was the Uzbekistan Open Swimming Cup (November 24-29, 2020), and the other Uzbekistan Open Swimming Championships (April 13-17, 2021). 

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These two meets concluded long back and the results were done and dusted. A few athletes booked their place in the Tokyo Olympics 2021, but the Uzbekistan Swimming Federation was hit with controversy soon after. 

Likith Selvaraj, an Indian swimmer had taken part in the Uzbekistan Open Swimming Championships that was held in Tashkent, between April 13-17. Following the event’s conclusion, Selvaraj took to Instagram and alleged that the officials had manipulated his time in the 100m freestyle and the 100m butterfly event, which barred him from advancing in the heats.

Selvaraj posted the clip in April and urged ‘Fédération internationale de natation’ (FINA) to take immediate action since it is the governing body for all international swimming events. 

The Indian swimmer claimed that the Uzbekistan officials manipulated the times in order to make two of their home athletes qualify for the Olympic games. He also mentioned that the officials tried to bribe him regarding the issue.  

FINA responded and invalidated results for Tokyo Olympics 2021 qualification

Selvaraj’s plea made FINA intervene and investigate the issue. Upon further digging, it was exposed that the Uzbekistan Swimming Federation had actually used unsportsmanlike methods to make a few of its athletes reach Olympic qualification timings. 

FINA immediately invalidated certain results from the meet, which was then met with strong opposition from the Uzbekistan Swimming Federation. The Uzbeks were strong to mention that they hadn’t manipulated any such times to favor their athletes. 

As a result of the retaliation, the Uzbekistan Swimming Federation appealed to ‘Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)’ seeking justice, but their efforts went in vain. The latest report on FINA’s website reads:  

“Any attempt to manipulate results will be punished according to the relevant FINA rules. Put simply, FINA will not stand for any forms of cheating or event manipulation.”

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The CAS rejected the Uzbekistan Federation’s plea. Hence, FINA’s invalidation of the meet’s results still stands. They won’t be taken into account. 

“Following this CAS award, the FINA Ethics Panel will now investigate whether further sanctions should be imposed on the Uzbekistan Swimming Federation and any other implicated party,” FINA’s website states

Furthermore, FINA also thanked whistleblowers for bringing this situation to light. Without the brave exposers, the whole manipulation act of the Uzbekistan Swimming Federation wouldn’t have come to light. 

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Arjun Athreya

2029 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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