The President of the Ghana Swimming Association, Theophylus Edzie, has explained how the nation’s swimming team for the Olympic Games in Rio has been put together.
Ghana will have Abeiku Jackson and Spain-based Kaya Forson at the Games after the nation was handed wildcard places by the International Olympic Committee.
The wildcard places were given out after Ghana’s swimmers failed to meet the required times but they were also based on Ghana’s appearance at the World Swimming Championships in Kazan in 2015.
That has not gone down with other swimmers namely Zenobia Addo and Ophelia Swayne. Swayne is the nation’s best female swimmer and the expectation was the she would get a place in Rio.
However, that did not happen and the President of the Ghana Swimming Association, Theophylus Edzie, told Citi Sports that Swayne’s inability to go to Kazan and her inconsistencies with training ruled her out of the Olympic Games.
“At the time of the World Championships, Swayne had issues with her swimming club. She was not going to training and she practically dismissed herself. As a national team, it was difficult for us to call on an athlete who was not training and did not have a team.
She had lost form and lost a great opportunity in the sport.”
Edzie added that due to Swayne’s failure to go to Kazan, she had to qualify for the Rio Games by meeting the standard time of 25.28 and 26.17 for her event, the 50m freestyle and she did not. He urged her to be more serious with her training for her to have better chances at future tournaments.
Allegations of bribery
Edzie went on to clear the air on allegations that Kaya Forson’s place in the Ghanaian swimming team was facilitated by the payment of bribes on her father’s part.
He explained that Forson was spotted by the swimming team’s technical team and he was introduced to her.
“The coaches told me that Forson wanted to join the team to Kazan and so, after they vetted her times and performances, I allowed her to go.
Her parents offered to pay her bills to Kazan and even have her coach with her. I did not like the idea but we were constrained for time and so, I allowed that to happen.
She went to Kazan and did not do too badly. After Kazan, she has not come to Ghana and I have tried to get her to come and swim. Then, the opportunity came for the wildcards and I chose her. She had more potential and at her age of 14, she was younger than Swayne, who was 17. She is one for the future.”
A Facebook post by Sara Asafu Adjaye, an official close to the Ghanaian swimming team, confirmed that there was nothing ‘fishy’ about Swayne and her missing out on the Rio Games.
“A few months ago I helped raised funds to send Ophelia Swayne, and her siblings, Kwaku and Zenobia Addo, to Romania to try to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Unfortunately none of them made their qualifying time to swim for Ghana in Rio and although Ophelia is the current National Record holder for Freestyle (28 secs for 50m), she didn’t compete at the 2015 World Aquatics Championship in Kazan so is therefore not eligible for the Universality slot available to the fastest Ghanaian female swimmer.
Kaya Forson and Abeiku Jackson both competed in Kazan and are rightfully going to represent Ghana at the Rio Olympics! I couldn’t be happier for these two talented teenagers, and support both of them 100%. The future of Ghana swimming is bright ?”
On her part, Swayne said that she and some other swimmers were not informed of the 2015 World Championships in Kazan and she confirmed this to Citi Sports’ Benjamin Nketsia who put that out on Twitter.
One of Swayne’s colleagues, Zenobia Addo, put out a series of tweets in line with what Swayne said about the swimming association and the championships in Kazan.
She said that they had been frozen out of the team’s activities for a year and thus, missed the championships in Kazan.
By: Nathan Quao/citifmonline.com/Ghana