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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Substandard pools to halt Dar athletes

29th September 2011

Substandard pools are likely to sideline domestic swimmers from the 2012 London Olympics, so says the Tanzania Swimming Association (TSA) secretary general, Noel Kiunsi.

The TSA official said swimmers might be excluded from the Olympic show next year if they are not practicing at the Federation of International Swimming Associations (FINA) recommended pools.

Kiunsi said only those swimmers who would meet the pre-set standard by FINA sanctioned games held at 50-metres sized pools are eligible to win the Olympic berth next year.

Tanzania and many other African countries do not have 50-metre sized pools as most of them are undersized to 25 metres and below.

Kiunsi said swimmers are likely to experience difficulties to meet FINA qualifying terms for the 2012 Olympics.

He rued the wasted opportunity to feature in the just ended All Africa Games in Mozambique as some if not most of the Tanzania swimmers would have met the qualifying standard.

“The Maputo Games would have been the good opportunity for our swimmers to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics as the event has been sanctioned by FINA to meet qualifier berth,” said Kiunsi.

The TSA official said swimmers have been advised to look for swimming competitions outside the country and work hard to qualify and win the trip to London for the show.

In an effort to assist the swimmers, TSA has written other African countries that have 50-metre swimming pools to allow Tanzania swimmers to compete at their tourneys.

“We have no other option besides asking other countries that have 50-metre swimming pools to permit our swimmers to compete at their tournaments, so as to qualify for the Olympics,” he said.

Alternatively, Kiunsi said if there will not be swimmers who would meet FINA pre-set qualifying standard, then there is only two slots one each for a male and a female swimmer to appear for the Olympics as a special dispensation by the International Olympic Committee. The swimmers are supposed to be accompanied by a coach.

He also ruled out that the forthcoming East and Central Africa swimming championships to be staged in Uganda would be used to gauge Olympic-bound swimmers.

The championship is within FINA calendar and sanctioned but not for Olympic qualifications.

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