Six swimmers selected to represent Poland at the Tokyo Olympics returned from Japan early after their country’s national federation mistakenly chose too many athletes.
The Polish Swimming Federation has selected 23 swimmers to participate in matches delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, which officially begins on Friday. But only 17 were actually eligible under qualifying standards, multiple media reported.
“Imagine dedicating five years of your life and fighting for another start at the most important sporting event, giving up your privacy and your job, sacrificing your family and your dedication ends in total failure,” said the two-time Olympian. Alicja Tchorz, one of the swimmers sent home, wrote on Facebook.
“I am deeply shocked by what happened,” Mateusz Chowaniec, who was also sent back to Poland, wrote on Instagram. “This is an absurd situation for me that should never have happened. In fact, I hope to wake up from this nightmare eventually.”
Bartosz Piszczorowicz, Aleksandra Polańska, Dominika Kossakowska and Jan Hołub have also been removed from the squad, SwimSwam.com reported.
The swimmers signed an open letter calling on the board of the Polish Swimming Federation to resign.
Federation president Pawel Slominski apologized for the mistake, saying the federation wanted “to allow as many players and coaches as possible to participate in the games”.
“I express great regret, sadness and bitterness at the situation,” Slominski said in a statement. “Such a situation should not take place, and the reaction of the swimmers, their emotions, the attack on the Polish Swimming Federation is understandable and justified to me.”