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Kazan to Host World Swimming Contest as Russia Struggles to Recover From Doping Scandal

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In a move that suggests confidence in Russian sport is slowly recovering following a series of high-profile doping scandals, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) has chosen Kazan to host the 2022 world short course swimming championships.

FINA announced the decision Monday on its Twitter page.

Kazan hosted the world aquatics championships in 2015, but since then Russia’s reputation in sport has plummeted as the country has been accused of a “state-sponsored doping program” that affected athletes across sports, including participants at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Kazan’s two recent major hosting duties, the 2015 World Aquatics Championships, and 2013 Summer Universiade, were also implicated in the doping scandals.

In 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) asked all winter sports federations to freeze preparations for major sports events in Russia and look for alternate hosts.

Later that year, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation stripped Russia of the right to host the 2017 IBSF World Cup in Sochi. The decision came shortly after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published the second part of its report on doping in Russia. 

Many Russian athletes, including the entire track-and-field team and part of the swimming team, were banned from participating in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov told the state news agency TASS that FINA's announcement would help boost Russia’s sports image.

“This country is ready not only for hosting such tournaments but is becoming a platform for communication and discussion on pressing sports issues,” Kolobkov said.

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