Bermuda national coach accuses Bermuda Olympic Association of restricting swimmers

By Sports Desk June 22, 2021

Bermuda national swimming coach, Ben Smith, has criticised the Bermuda Olympic Association (BOA) for what amounts to rejecting a chance for two of the country’s swimmers to take part in the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Games.

At current, no swimmer on the island has attained the Olympic standard, which would ordinarily be needed to compete in Tokyo later this year.  However, the International Swimming Federation, the federation authorised by the International Olympic Committee for administering international competitions, also typically offers smaller nations a chance to compete at the Games via the offer of universality places.

In order to qualify for the places, athletes typically have to have competed at the previous World Championships and gain FINA approval to compete.  The rule has, however, been amended this year to allow for athletes having competed at the previous World Championships or that have been approved by FINA to be selected.

Universality places are offered to one male and female athlete from the selected country and, according to reports, FINA offered places to Bermudan swimmers Jesse Washington and Madelyn Moore.  Both athletes represented the country at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships. 

Reports further indicate that Pedro Adrega, the Fina Olympic Games Swimming Entries Co-ordinator, twice wrote to the BOA indicating that the athletes had been invited to take up the spots.  The deadline for accepting the places was June 20 and passed without the BOA taking any action.  The situation angered Smith who wrote a letter to the BOA to express his frustration.

  “Fina has invited Madelyn Moore and Jesse Washington to participate in the Tokyo Games. If the BOA is not willing to sign the document that needs to be submitted by June 20, it will have made a decision to restrict the Bermuda athletes to the A standard only for selection. This would mean that all athletes in Bermuda would be asked to be at the top-14 level just to compete at the Olympics,” Smith wrote ahead of the deadline expiration.

“How did we reach a point of creating further obstacles for our young Bermudians when our international partners have welcomed them with open arms?

“Why is the Bermuda Olympic Association spending so much time and effort to remove athletes that have been selected internationally and restricting our team size,” Smith later told the Royal Gazette.

 

 

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