BOA defends decision to deny swimmers place at Tokyo 2020
The Bermuda Olympic Association is standing by its decision not to approve swimmers Jesse Washington and Madelyn Moore for selection to represent the country at Tokyo 2020 in four weeks’ time.
Ben Smith, the national swimming coach, criticised the BOA on Tuesday for denying Washington and Moore the opportunity to compete at the Games through a universality, a form of wild cards that allows athletes from smaller nations to realise their dream of appearing at an Olympic Games.
Yesterday, the BOA stood by its decision, though they wished the two swimmers every success as they compete in the Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Federation Championships in Puerto Rico.
“The Bermuda Olympic Association confirms that it received and has declined offers by Fina for two unqualified swimmers, one male and one female, to participate in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics,” the BOA said in a statement in response to a story published yesterday by The Royal Gazette.
“The Bermuda Amateur Swimming Association had submitted Madelyn Moore and Jesse Washington to be on the long list of potential qualifiers for the Games.
“Under the Olympic Charter's article 44, the governing document of the Olympic Games, each National Olympic Committee is responsible for sending to the Olympic Games ‛only those competitors adequately prepared for high-level international competition’.
“Following the Rio Games, in the best interest of athletes’ overall development, the BOA adopted and has adhered to the practice of approving athletes’ participation at international festivals if they meet the requisite qualifying standards for those festivals.
“This practice has been applied consistently and without prejudice to all athletes in all sports for all competitions during the current quadrennial and has produced some of the most successful teams Bermuda has seen in recent times.”
The main Olympic qualifying criteria established A and B standards for athletes to qualify, although if a nation has no athlete selected, it can be represented at the Games through a universality place. That meant a country such as Bermuda, with no qualifiers in swimming, could have entered a maximum of one male and one female in one event only.
Smith wrote to Judy Simons, the BOA president, on June 19 urging the association to change its policy on universality at the Olympic Games.
“Fina has invited Madelyn Moore and Jesse Washington to participate in the Tokyo Games,” Smith wrote. “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.”
However, the BOA is standing by its decision not to consider athletes who have not met the qualifying standard.
“At this time, Ms Moore and Mr Washington have not met Fina’s qualifying standards for the Olympics,” the BOA stated further in the release. “Therefore, the BOA cannot currently approve Ms Moore’s and Mr Washington’s participation in the Tokyo Games.
“We note that Ms Moore and Mr Washington are currently competing at the Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation Championships in Puerto Rico, and we are hopeful that they will meet the Olympic qualifying standard during their events at CCCAN, which would allow them to represent Bermuda in Tokyo.
“We extend our best wishes for a successful meet in Puerto Rico.”