Lynette Matheka @peoplesport11
Controversy has clouded Team Kenya swimming team to April’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia after the selection criterion was put to question.
The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) allocated five slots for the sport but stakeholders expected more slots that would accommodate a selection criterion that allows the fastest swimmer in each category to be selected.
However, with the five slots on offer the Joint Select Committee appointed by the High Court to select swimmers for the major international Championships, used a criterion that states that swimmers with the highest average of FINA points get the slots for each category.
“We have a problem with the criterion used because it is a draft and not something agreed on by all stakeholders. There was no transparency and the selection was announced on the closing date set by NOCK which in itself is very suspect,” lamented Christine Jerome, parent to Tory Pragassa a 2014 Commonwealth participant.
Other than the criterion being questioned, the data used has also been said to be erroneous and the time used not for the required September 1 2017, although a document from Sports Dispute Tribunal send on February 26 indicates that the times used would be based on highest FINA points.
However Reginald Okumu, a Competitions Management Committee (CMC) member says that all these issues being raised do not hold any water as the processes have been open and the information has been presented to those involved.
“We received communication from NOCK that we have five slots for Gold Coast last year December and we communicated the same alongside the agreement on the selection criterion,” Okumu said.
Okumu further explains that the times used were based purely on Long Course swimming pools as the Commonwealth Games use such a pool as opposed to the Short Course Yards (SCY) and thus the CMC could not consider times posted by swimmers in SCY pools while calculating the FINA points.
“We have called on anyone with a complaint about the times we used to calculate the points, since the process was done openly. So far no one has forwarded any evidence,” added Okumu.
Okumu further stated that the swimming federation is undergoing reforms and the stake holders are justified in calling for a new constitution and elections since it will bring about more transparency and clear criteria on team selections.