SPORTS

Now you go to Rio, now you don’t

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Swimming, Olympics

Greek swimmer Kristel Vourna was told by the sport’s world governing body FINA that she had made the list for the Rio 2016 Olympics, only to find out to her huge disappointment she had been left out after all: her original inclusion had been due to an administrative error, FINA admitted.

On July 6 Vourna received the formal invitation to take part in the Olympics at 100 meters butterfly, but eight days later she was notified she had actually not qualified and that it was a FINA mistake that had originally led to the invitation.

Vourna had only made the so-called B standard time and was surprised to receive an invitation for the Games, which she attributed to the federation’s recognition of her career efforts. The surprise turned nasty on July 14, with the bad news coming with an apology.

In admitting its error, FINA also issued an invitation to Vourna to... attend the Games in Brazil, which the Greek champion turned down angrily. She reportedly replied that she is an athlete and not a tourist.

“Unfortunately people’s mistakes are always paid by other people,” Vourna stated with bitter feelings.

The head of the Greek federation and member of the FINA Bureau, Dimitris Diathesopoulos, voiced his anger at FINA saying that “an athlete’s biggest dream is to take part in the Olympic Games. No one can retract such a thing. It is unforgivable and it can ruin the soul and the vision of an athlete.”

Vourna has already taken part in the Olympics once, at London 2012, but it is unknown whether she will be able to be at Tokyo 2020. This may well have been the 24-year-old’s only chance for a second Olympics.

Thirteen other Greek swimmers have qualified to the Rio Games.

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