Yucatecan diver Rommel Pacheco won gold in the 3-meter springboard competition at the FINA Diving World Cup 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
Despite the victory of Pacheco, the flag raised highest during the medal ceremony was that of FINA, as Mexican athletes are currently competing under the care of aquatic sport’s governing body due to their nation’s suspension.
Not being able to use the Mexican kit, he topped the podium in a Popeye t-shirt but although heard the FINA anthem, Rommel sang that of his country.
“I would have loved to see the green, red and white flag waving. But at the end of the day, the winner is the same. I’m very happy with the result”
Mexican diver defends his flag amid suspension
A member of the Mexican National Team System declared on the condition of anonymity that the Mexican athletes would have to compete under the FINA or IOC flag during the Mexican Federation’s suspension.
FINA suspended Mexico for “not fulfilling contractual obligations concerning the cancellation of the 2017 FINA World Championships in Guadalajara.”
The rule specifically states that sanctions can be imposed “if duties and financial obligations to FINA are not fulfilled.”
Initial reports were that Mexico would have to pay a $5 million fine after they won the bid to host the 2017 World Aquatics Championships and then withdrew themselves from hosting duties. Budapest, where the meetings that levied the suspension are taking place, had originally been named the host of the 2019 World Championships but took over the 2017 duties after Mexico’s withdrawal.
The Mexican Swimming Federation has not responded to requests for more information, while FINA has said that information about the cause, length, and effects of the suspension are “confidential” and that no more information will be released. Both the federation and the aquatic athletes have largely refrained from discussing the impact the suspension will have.
The event has also seen Rio 2016 test its security operations to the highest level yet, with the National Force in action for the first time in a scheme practically equal to that which will be used during Rio 2016.
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