FINA cancels World Junior Championships in Russia

Feb 27 (Reuters) - Swimming's global governing body FINA has called off the World Junior Swimming Championships that were set to take place in Kazan, Russia, in late August, in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

FINA said it had made the decision to cancel the biennial event after consulting athletes and stakeholders.

"FINA will not be holding any future events in Russia if this grave crisis continues," the group added in a statement on Sunday.

The Switzerland-based FINA added that it would provide whatever practical support it could to members of the aquatics family impacted by Russia's invasion, which began on Thursday and has met with swift condemnation from numerous sports governing bodies. read more

On Friday, FINA called off a men's water polo World League match in St. Petersburg next month while an Artistic Swimming and Diving World Series event scheduled for April in Kazan was also canceled.

Australia's national swimming federation said it welcomed FINA's decision and that it would not send teams to any other swimming events scheduled in Russia, including the world short course championships in December.

"Swimming Australia strongly condemns the actions of the Russian government and is appalled by the developments in Ukraine," the federation said in a statement.

Swimming Australia chief Eugenie Buckley said the federation's boycott was based on "safety reasons first and foremost".

"We would also like to see FINA consider relocating these events to alternate locations so our swimmers have the opportunity to race in a safe environment."

Russia's assault is the biggest on a European state since World War Two and threatens to upend the continent's post-Cold War order.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation".

Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne and Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Clare Fallon

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