Swimmers hopes sink as FINA issues final list

Swimmers hopes sink as FINA issues final list

Years of hard work with the dream of competing in the Olympics, ended in disappointment for the Indian swimmers as none of them found a place in FINA’s list of 900 for the London Games announced on Friday.

Virdhawal Khade (100M freestyle), Sandeep Sejwal (100M breaststroke; 200M breaststroke), Aaron D'Souza (200M freestyle) and Saurabh Sangvekar (1500M freestyle) had attained the ‘B’ qualification standard, technically termed as the Olympic Selection Time (OST), the minimum requirement for competing at the Olympics, with FINA’s invitation.

FINA’s list of swimmers has 438 who attained Olympic Qualifying Time (OQT) or the ‘A’ Standard time, 181 OST qualifiers, 131 relay only swimmers and 150 Universality Places (for countries to enter one male and one female swimmer if they do not have a qualified swimmer). “I think we don’t have any chance now. It’s disappointing to know that we are not going to Olympics. I saw the FINA website today and came to know that they have come up with the full list. Swimming Federation of India officials told me that they are still hopeful,” said Agnel D’Souza, Aaron’s father.

Though, four swimmers in the 181 OST slots are still to confirm their entries to FINA, the chances appears bleak for the Indians. The four swimmers yet to confirm their entries are in the women’s section which has no Indian qualifiers. “I am still hopeful that we will get at least one berth,” said Virendra Nanavati, CEO of Swimming Federation of India.

Nanavati, also a member of the technical committee of FINA, said that he was awaiting an official confirmation from the governing body. “I have sent a letter to FINA requesting them to allocate us at least one slot. I am waiting for FINA’s reply which I expect before the cut-off date of July 9,” pointed out Nanavati.

Since India have swimmers in the OST category, it will not be considered for the Universality Places, and for FINA to allow a berth to Indians they would have to tweak the rules. It is disappointing none of the Indians will feature in swimming that will have athletes representing 166 nations in London.

 If vacant places are available due to swimmers pulling out, FINA will invite the next ranked swimmer with cut-off date set for  July 9.

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