Mexican aquatics team to compete under own flag at Rio 2016 after special dispensation negotiated with IOC and FINA

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Aquatics athletes will be permitted to compete under the Mexican flag at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games despite the national governing body remaining suspended from the International Swimming Federation (FINA), it has been announced.

This follows special negotiations between FINA, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Mexican Olympic Committee and its President Carlos Padilla.

The Mexican Swimming Federation was “temporarily suspended” by FINA earlier this year after they “broke contractual obligations” by withdrawing last February as host of the 2017 FINA World Championships.

They were also hit with a $5 million (£3.5 million/€4.5 million) fine, which they are currently refusing to pay amid an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

It appeared that the suspension meant Mexican swimmers and divers would be forced to compete under the FINA flag at Rio 2016 rather than under their national one, something that had prompted huge protests within the Central American nation.

“After several negotiations I conducted last week with the IOC and FINA in Lausanne, our petition was accepted that our country involved integrating water activities as part of the national team under the colours and patriotic symbols in competitions and official events,” Padilla announced at a press conference.

This should avoid a repeat of the situation seen at recent World Cup events, where Mexican athletes have reportedly covered their FINA uniforms with cartoons and mocking drawings in a sign of protest.

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Photo by Rob Young

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