FINA, the world governing swimming body has clarified that no Kenyan swimmer met the qualifying standards.
Therefore, the KSF were right in using their discretion to nominate two swimmers to represent Kenya at next month’s Olympics in Rie de Janeiro. FINA’s Pedro Adrega stated that one of the criteria for swimmers who did not automatically qualify was participation in the World Championship.
The World Body added another twist by stating Kenya had two other choices Issa Mohamed and Emily Muteti. Using the Universatility criteria, FINA stated KSF selected the two swimmers – Hamdan Bayusuf and Talisa anoe in accorance with the rules.
Below is a statement from FINA
The Swimming qualification procedure clearly stipulates that:
1. Athletes with OQT/A times are automatically qualified for the Olympic Games, if selected by their NF/NOC. This case is not applicable to Kenya, as no swimmers from your country achieved OQT/A times;
2. Athletes with OST/B times can only enter in the Olympic Games, after receiving an invitation from FINA. These invitations are done at the end of a complex procedure whereby athletes with OQT/A time, relay-only swimmers and Universality swimmers are given priority.
Once the number of these swimmers is established, we select and invite OST/B-time swimmers until the 900-swimmer quota (the one given to FINA for the Games) is reached.
For Rio 2016, invitations for OST/B times were only done to the best swimmer in each of the 26 individual events.
In your case, the OST/B times from your swimmer Rebecca Kamau in the women’s 200m breaststroke and 200m individual medley would not be sufficient for an invitation from FINA;
3. Kenya could then apply for Universality places in order to be represented in the Games. In this case, the rules are very clear: athletes selected through Universality must have participated at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan (RUS).
In this context, Kenya had two choices among men – Hamdam Bayusuf and Issa Hemed Mohamed – and also two options among women – Talisa Lanoe and Emily Muteti.
The national choice of Kenya, communicated to FINA, was for Mr. Bayusuf among men and for Ms Lanoe in the women’s field. As this selection was made in accordance with the rules, FINA naturally validated this choice.
Before the FINA response, Sports News Arena established that:
– FINA announced the 2016 Olympic Qualifying Time Standards, both A and B cuts, for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in January2016.
– The qualifying period runs from March 1, 2015 through July 3, 2016 at FINA Approved Events.
As a refresher on qualifying, for a country to qualify two swimmers in an event, both swimmers must beat the designated A cut time.
Otherwise, a country will be held to just one swimmer in the event if one meets the B cut, or is brought in on a “Universality” placement up to 900 total athletes.
Each team will be limited to a maximum of 26 men and 26 women.
The decision by FINA has dealt abig blow to a meetingon Friday, July 15 which was which presided by the Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario under whose docket sports falls.
At this meeting, Wario directed KSF to include Rebecca Kamau and Issa Mohamed failure to which he threatened Kenya’s absence from swimming.
Below is a summary of the deliberations
On Friday the 15th of July 2016, a meeting was held at the Ministry of Sports concerning selection of the Swimmers to Rio.
We were in attendance to represent your interests.
Also in attendance was the Cabinet Secretary (Dr. Wario), the 2 concerned Permanent Secretaries (Dr. Ekai and Mr. Okudo), Commissioner of Sports (Mr. Oluoch), the NOCK executive committee members, a team from Mombasa representing Issa, Rebecca´s representative, a representative from NASA, Issa himself and of course Ben Ekumbo who was representing KSF.
It was a fair 2 hour hearing were each team was given time to present, defend their decisions and also air there grievances and opinions.
Key points from the deliberations
1. Issa who is on a FINA scholarship has not received any financial stipend from KSF as is stipulated in his scholarship agreement with FINA via KSF
2. NOCK stated that KSF is to blame because they are the ones who presented the names of the 2 swimmers to FINA and FINA just endorsed the names for final selection.
3. According to evidence tabled (FINA rankings), Issa and Rebecca are ranked higher than Talisa and Hamdan respectively and therefore deserved to be given first priority in the selection process.
4. There are serious issues with transparency, inclusion and open communication from KSF to her respective stakeholders. This has resulted in many unprofessional and unpopular decisions which has led to suspect and mistrust bringing with it serious challenges and infighting within the swimming fraternity.
5. KSF does not have a national ranking system which should be the basis for an open selection of the national team and solving related disputes. Lacking a recognised selection criteria, deserving swimmers are at the mercy of KSF´s officials in order to enjoy their constitutional rights of representing Kenya.
After deliberation from all the parties mentioned above, the meeting concluded that, the selection of the swimming team was not transparent, inclusive and open. Moreover, it lacked a recognised selection criteria as is expected of a national body representing all Kenyans.
The selection system was not participatory and inclusive of all stakeholders and was therefore not a true reflection or representation of the Kenya´s best swimmers.
The meeting therefore concluded that, since their was injustice in a non transparent and `private` selection process, and respecting the tight deadlines by IOC and FINA, the following 3 options will be explored asap:-
1. NOCK should write a letter to Fina and have the two deserving swimmers names included, failure to that no swimmers shall go to the Olympics
2. If the status quo remains, then we shall not be represented by the best
3. As the stakeholders representatives we were clear if the 2 best are not included, then point no 1 stands above, as it will be injustice to the whole swimming fraternity.
In the meantime, we await the final verdict and will update accordingly.
It will be interesting what happens now whether Bayusuf and Lanoe will finally get the nod or whether Wario will execute his threat of withdrawing them.