NAIROBI, Kenya, July 14 – Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Arts and Culture Dr Hassan Wario has directed the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) to write to the international governing body of swimming (FINA) requesting them to consider the two Kenyan swimmers who were left out of the Rio Olympics team.
Wario was speaking on Friday after meeting Kenya Swimming Federation (KSF), Nairobi Swimming Association (NASA) and NOC-K officials after Rebecca Kamau and Isaa Mohammed were not selected for the Kenyan Team to go for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“Yes we had a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary and we are happy with the outcome as parents and officials of NASA. The selection process was not done properly because the best swimmers were locked out.
“Kenya needs to be represented by the best swimmers so if FINA reject our request, then no swimmer should go to Rio Olympics. The Minister was clear that the selection must be done in a transparent manner which was not done in this case,” NASA chairman Reginald Okumu told Capital Sport.
However, officials of KSF disclosed that it will be impossible to adjust any changes since the entry was already closed.
“We clarified to the Minister our position on how we arrived on the criteria selection and yes its true NOC-K was directed to write to FINA asking them to add the two swimmers. We are just waiting for response and see how it goes since the deadline entry is over and Kenya can only send two swimmers,” the KSF official told Capital Sport.
On their part, NOC-K through their chairman Dr Kipchoge Keino said they are not to blame in admitting Hamdan Bayussuf and Britain based Talisa Lanoe into the Olympics team.
“The two swimmers were appointed on universal allocation, an agreement between FINA and IOC. We as NOC-K only receive the names from the international federations. This is an agreement between the two bodies that they can give an allocation of two to any country which hasn’t qualified an Olympian,” Keino affirmed.
“We did not have a qualifier under category A and that is how FINA came up with the names. NOC-K has no role in the selection of the two swimmers. It is between KSF, FINA and IOC.”
Rebecca’s story was highlighted by an emotional Facebook post written by her father, Kiruri Kamau who claimed her daughter was dropped despite attaining the qualifying entry of ‘B’ standards.
It has been established that Rebecca failed to attend World Championship last year (2015) which was part of the Olympics qualifiers where the two swimmers picked qualified from.
According to the international governing body of swimming- FINA, they can reject entries if swimmers do not meet the set criteria.
-Key FINA regulations-
“Up next will be the Universality places, where countries who have no swimmers with an “A” time or a selected “B” time may enter up to 1 man and 1 woman for Rio, presuming that man and woman competed at the 2015 World Championships. Each can swim in just 1 individual event. If a country has a male swimmer invited, they can invite 1 female swimmer under the Universality rules, and vice-versa,” Rule three of the FINA and IOC Olympics entry list states.
“Up to the cap of 900 swimmers (the same as London), FINA will begin inviting swimmers with “B” times. By July 5th, 2016, FINA will inform “B” standard swimmers of their invites (up to 1 “B” swimmer per country). The change, and this is significant, is that FINA may continue to invite swimmers with “B” standards above the 900 quota to ensure that every country represented at the 2015 World Championships will have an (eligible) swimmer at the Olympics,” Rule four of the FINA and IOC Olympics entry list reads.
-By Joe Miano and Timothy Olobulu