Thousands of athletes have arrived in Tokyo to fulfil their dream of competing in the Olympic Games 2020. However, six Polish swimmers won’t have the chance to be part of the compitition, that start on July 24, despite having traveled with the team. The reason? Poland sent too many swimmers to the Games.
The PZP, Poland’s swimming federation, was forced to send six athletes home after bringing 23 swimmers to the competition. The problem is that FINA, swimming’s international governing body, rules that the number of participants has to be 17.
After the initial shock, the athletes have reacted and the majority of the swimming team is asking for the resignation of the PZP directive board. Pawel Slominski, president of the Polish federation, said he understood the reaction. But how did this happen?
Why did six Polish swimmers have to leave Tokyo 2020?
According to the statement from Slominski, the mistake was due to the "desire to allow as many players and coaches as possible to take part in the Games". As Yahoo Sport reports, the country had several relay teams qualify for the Olympics through the regular processes, but they also sent six “B standard” swimmers to compete in individual events.
Slominski also explained that the federation didn’t have "clear guidance" from the FINA if the six “B standard” swimmers were qualified for the Games or not until July 14, where the athletes have already flown to Tokyo. "I express great regret, sadness and bitterness about the situation," said in the statement.
Reuters reports that the swimmers who had to left the team were Alicja Tchórz, Bartosz Piszczorowicz, Aleksandra Polańska, Mateusz Chowaniec, Dominika Kossakowska and Jan Holub. Tchórz, who competed at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, expressed her anger on social media.
"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," she wrote on Facebook. Mateusz Chowaniec also wrote on Instagram that the situation was a “nightmare.".