Marathon Swimmer Vitaliy Khudyakov Gets OK For Olympics Spot

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Vitaliy Khudyakov Photo Courtesy: Kazakhstan Olympic Committee

Kazakhstan’s Vitaliy Khudyakov was granted a spot in the Olympic marathon race by the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s Ad Hoc Division at the Tokyo Olympics.

Khudyakov, 26, thought he had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in April 2019 by winning the Asian Open Water Swimming Championships in Kuwait. However, his name didn’t appear on FINA’s official selection lists in July. FINA told the Kazakh swimming federation that that race was not an official qualifier for the Olympics, despite that being what the website of the event purports. (Khudyakov last year completed a 56-kilometer lake swim in his home country to mark one year to the Olympic race, so the late denial took him by surprise.)

According to Inside the Games, CAS heard the case at its ad hoc division set up to resolve disputes related to the Olympic Games. Before it could render a decision, however, FINA offered Khudyakov a spot in the race, which it calls “an additional quota place”.

“FINA has offered this quota place to the Kazakhstan Swimming Federation and the Kazakhstan Olympic Committee should nominate Vitaliy Khudyakov for this quota place,” CAS said in a statement. “Accordingly, Vitaliy Khudyakov’s application to the CAS Ad Hoc Division has become moot and has been withdrawn by the athlete.”

Khudyakov swam the 10-kilometer event in Rio but was disqualified for receiving two yellow flags. This year’s race will take place Aug. 5 at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo.