Tribunal clears Bayusuf for Olympics, KSF ordered to formalize selection criteria

By francis marangu
Jul 29, 2016
  • Hamdan Bayusuf has been cleared by the Sports Disputes Tribunal to compete at the Olympic Games. (SNA File Photo)

Swimmer Hamdan Bayusuf has been cleared to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games following a ruling by the Sports Disputes Tribunal on Friday.

The tribunal dismissed a petition filed by Issa Abdalla with costs to the Kenya Swimming Federation (KSF).

In a 14-page ruling delivered by chairman John Ohaga, the tribunal sympathised with Abdalla saying they accept he will be disappointed for missing a place in the Kenyan team.

“However, if we were to reverse the decision of the federation, there would be another disappointed athlete,” the ruling said.

“We find that the selection of Mr. Bayusuf was properly exercised and was well within the discretion afforded to the federation.”

The panel of three dismissed arguments by Abdalla’s lawyer Caxstone Kigata that he merited selection owing to his higher ranking in the FINA point system.

“Whilst we accept that Mr. Abdalla may have a better FINA ranking than Mr. Bayusuf, we observe that the statistics made available to the tribunal by the appellant would seem to indicate that Mr. Abdalla does not infact swim backstroke,” the ruling added.

“Therefore, the rankings would not be a proper point of comparison where the federation is required to select a swimmer for only one event.”

The tribunal said they had no standing to question why KSF chose to go for backstroke swimmers only because it would amount to usurping the powers and functions of the federation.

They further observed that swimmers lost the right to participate in Rio games after failing to automatically qualify. Thus, the federation had full discretion to nominate swimmers for the universality places.

However, KSF was reprimanded by the tribunal for the manner in which they handled the selection process.

The tribunal noted that swimmers who were eligible for consideration in the universality places were never made aware of the criteria to be used in settling for the two swimmers.

“This is where we call into question the exercise of discretion by the federation.”

As a result, the tribunal has ordered KSF to prepare for discussion amongst its stakeholders and publish a document that provides for the qualification system for all international events.

The matter will be mentioned on October 25 to confirm compliance and for issuance of further directions.