Six swimmers selected to represent Poland at the Tokyo Olympics returned home from Japan early after their country’s national federation picked too many athletes by mistake.
The Polish Swimming Federation selected 23 swimmers to compete at the coronavirus pandemic-delayed games, which officially begin on Friday. But only 17 were actually eligible under qualifying standards, reported multiplemediaoutlets.
“Imagine dedicating five years of your life and striving for another start at the most important sporting event, giving up your private life and work, sacrificing your family and your dedication results in a total flop,” two-time Olympian Alicja Tchorz, one of the swimmers sent home, wrote on Facebook.
“I’m deeply shocked by what happened,” Mateusz Chowaniec, who also was 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 also were removed from the team, reported SwimSwam.com.
The swimmers signed an open letter calling on the board of the Polish Swimming Federation to resign.
Federation President Pawel Slominski apologised for the error, claiming the federation wanted “to allow as many players and coaches as possible to take part in the Games.”
“I express great regret, sadness and bitterness about 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 to me and justified.”