An unfortunate administrative error has meant that six swimmers from Poland’s Olympic team have been sent back home before the games have even begun.
The Polish Swimming Federation had no choice but to reduce its team of 23 members to 17 after accidentally sending too many athletes to Tokyo.
The unfortunate error was apparently due to a misunderstanding of FINA’s qualifying standards and, understandably, the six athletes – who had already taken the Olympic oath – have been left gravely disappointed.
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Swimmers Alicja Tchórz, Bartosz Piszczorowicz, Aleksandra Polańska, Mateusz Chowaniec, Dominika Kossakowska and Jan Holub have now returned to Poland, and intend to take legal action, NBC Washington reports.
The Polish team has now signed an open letter, calling for the resignation of the Polish Swimming Federation board: ‘Several of us had to come back to Poland because of the neglect, and our dream of becoming Olympians have been taken away from us,’ they wrote.
Some of the swimmers have also expressed their personal feelings on this matter via social media, with Tchórz writing 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.
[…] 6 days before the grand finale, it turns out that you were denied your dreams because of the incompetence of third parties.
Meanwhile, Chowaniec took to Instagram, writing:
I’m 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.
Poland have sent six swimmers home from the Tokyo Olympics after selecting too many by mistake. Poland initially picked 23 athletes but had to cut to17 based on world governing body FINA’s qualifying rules.
Someone needs to be held accountable#SportsArenake#Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/l4zG1fiOds
— Carol Radull (@CarolRadull) July 20, 2021
While Polish Swimming Federation president Pawel Slominski said in a statement:
I express great regret, sadness and bitterness about the situation related to the qualification of ours players for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Such a situation should not take place, and the reaction of the players, their emotions, the attack on the Polish Swimming Federation (PZP) is understandable to me and justified.
Slominski went on to state that many of the preparations for the Olympic games had been carried out during a ‘very difficult period of the pandemic’ with Poland’s swimming pools having been closed, and that it was his ‘desire to allow as many players and coaches as possible to take part in the Games’.