Six Polish swimmers have been sent home from the Tokyo Olympics due to a heartbreaking administrative bungle.
The Polish Swimming Federation has admitted that it sent too many athletes to the Games because of an admin error. The swimmers sent home are now threatening legal action and calling for the head of the federation to resign over the incident.
The Polish swimming team sent to Japan numbered just 23 people but has been cut to only 17, due to a misunderstanding of FINA qualifying standards.
“I would like to express my great regret, sadness and bitterness at the situation,” PZP director Pawel Slominski said in a statement, claiming that the error was made due to a desire to “allow as many athletes and coaches as possible to take part”.
One of the six snubbed swimmers, Alicja Tchorz, slammed the “incompetence” of the PZP, saying they had “misunderstood the rules”.
“Imagine that you sacrifice five years of your life and … your sacrifice results in a total flop,” Tchorz, who took part in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, wrote on social media.
Another spurned swimmer, Mateusz Chowaniec, wrote on Instagram: “This is an absurd situation that should never have happened.”
Poland’s culture and sports ministry urged the president “to immediately submit explanations” over the incident. The swimmers were sent home almost as soon as they arrived in Japan.
The other four swimmers were Bartosz Piszczorowicz, Aleksandra Polańska, Dominika Kossakowska and Jan Hołub. Nearly the entire Polish swim team has now signed a letter calling for the entire Polish Swimming Federation board to resign.
“The actions of the Association led to an unprecedented event in the history of Polish sport,” the letter said.
“In addition, Polish swimming – both in the eyes of the public and potential sponsors – has been exposed as a laughing stock. and it will have a glaring effect on all competitors who compete in the white and red colours on a daily basis.
“We appeal to the president and the entire board to resign immediately.”
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