Poland Sends Six Swimmers Home from Tokyo After Bringing Too Many

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The New York Times 20 July, 2021 - 06:42pm 5 views

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TOKYO — Six Polish swimmers were sent home from the Olympics this week after the country’s swimming federation arrived in Japan with too many competitors.

Poland originally selected 23 swimmers for the Tokyo Games but had to trim its list to 17 based on world swimming’s qualifying rules. Since the team had already arrived in Japan, that meant the disqualified swimmers — who had been feted on their departure and had taken the Olympic oath — had to fly back to Warsaw on Sunday, only days before the opening ceremony.

One of the swimmers, Alicja Tchorz, expressed outrage at the fiasco in a Facebook post and demanded the resignation of the federation’s leadership.

“Imagine dedicating 5 years of your life and striving for another start at the most important sporting event,” wrote Tchorz, who swam for Poland at the 2012 and 2016 Games. “Giving up your private life and work, sacrificing your family, etc.”

Her frustrations were amplified, she said, upon learning “6 days before the grand finale, it turns out that you were denied your dreams because of the incompetence of third parties.”

In an interview after returning to Warsaw, she said she and her teammates were planning to file a lawsuit and demanding the removal of the officials responsible for the mistake. “The absolute minimum is the resignation of the board,” Tchorz said. “Any dignity requires it.”

The other swimmers informed they could not compete were identified in news reports and social media posts as Bartosz Piszczorowicz, Aleksandra Polanska, Mateusz Chowaniec, Dominika Kossakowska and Jan Holub.

A video shared on social media by a Polish journalist showed the swimmers who had been ordered to return home sharing hugs and saying goodbye to other members of the Polish delegation before their departure last weekend.

In a lengthy statement explaining the error, the president of Poland’s swimming federation, Pawel Slominski, expressed regret for the mistake but also attempted to assign some of the blame to swimming’s qualifying rules and to Poland’s Olympic committee.

“I express great regret, sadness and bitterness about the situation,” Slominski said in the statement. “Such a situation should not take place, and the reaction of the swimmers, their emotions, the attack on the Polish Swimming Federation is understandable to me and justified.”

On Instagram, Chowaniec railed against “the incompetent people” leading the swimming federation.

“I am deeply shocked by what happened and this is an absurd situation for me that should never have happened,” he wrote. “In fact, I hope to wake up from this NIGHTMARE eventually!”

Read full article at The New York Times

Tokyo Olympics | Sakura Kokumai

WCNC 21 July, 2021 - 08:00am

In a 'nightmare' situation, Poland sends too many swimmers to Tokyo Olympics

The Week Magazine 20 July, 2021 - 11:25pm

This isn't the splash the Polish Swimming Federation wanted to make at the Tokyo Olympics.

Poland sent 23 swimmers to compete in the games, but six had to return home after organizers realized that there were too many people on the team; under the qualifying rules for FINA, the international federation for water sports, only 17 swimmers are allowed to participate, USA Today reports. 

The six swimmers who had to leave Tokyo are devastated, and calling on Polish Swimming Federation board members to resign. Alicja Tchorz, who competed in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, wrote on Facebook, "Imagine dedicating five years of your life and striving for another start at the most important sporting event, giving up your private life and work, sacrificing your family and your dedication results in a total flop." On Instagram, Mateusz Chowaniec said that he was "deeply shocked by what happened. This is an absurd situation for me that should never have happened. In fact, I hope to wake up from this nightmare eventually."

In a statement, Polish Swimming Federation President Pawel Slominski said he felt "great regret, sadness, and bitterness about the situation," adding that the "reaction of the swimmers, their emotions, the attack on the Polish Swimming Federation, is understandable to me and justified." He said 23 swimmers were sent to Tokyo by mistake out of "a desire to allow as many players and coaches as possible to take part in the games." 

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