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Kenya says World Aquatics has lifted swimming ban

Kenyan swimmers will be allowed to resume international competitions after the global swimming federation lifted a four-year ban, according to the country’s Olympic committee.

The East African nation was banned by World Aquatics in 2019 after the Kenya Swimming Federation (KSF) failed to meet election deadlines.

KSF also faced allegations of discrimination while selecting swimmers for national, regional and continental competitions. 

Kenya’s Olympic committee said the ban had been lifted “with immediate effect”.

“Kenyan swimmers can now fly our flag proudly,” secretary general Francis Mutuku said on Tuesday. 

“While the ban has been lifted, the hard work starts to ensure compliance with all the requisite laws and regulation.” 

Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba on Tuesday said lifting of the ban was a “great day for Kenyan swimming” and expressed optimism that the team will compete at next year’s Paris Olympics.

The government “is committed to revitalising and growing swimming alongside all sports disciplines in the country,” Namwamba said on X, formerly Twitter. 

The minister faced criticism for doing little to turn the fortunes of swimming around and in August was called in front of a parliamentary watchdog to answer allegations of mismanagement. 

Kenya’s swimming has been embroiled in controversy since 2016 when the then head of the national board was arrested for embezzlement at the Rio Olympics. 

World Aquatics last year established a committee to run KSF and ordered the body to elect a new leader before the ban could be lifted. 

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