NETANYA, Israel, April 21. AFTER considering input from an investigative committee appointed four months ago, Israeli Minister of Sport Limor Livnat has ruled in favor of Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or. Bar-Or alleged that the Israeli Swimming Federation had mistreated him and his Israeli coach Mano May by not choosing him to represent his country at the 2010 European Championships in Hungary.
Bar-Or is the Israeli record holder in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle events, and is now a junior at the University of Arizona.
As a result of not swimming in Budapest, Bar-Or missed the opportunity for pre-selection for the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, China this summer. For Israeli, Worlds are the first pre-selection meet for the 2012 Olympic Games. As of right now, Bar-Or is not on the Worlds roster, and will have to wait until the 2012 European Championships for another opportunity to be selected for the London Games.
The committee released a 24-page report explaining the saga that caused Bar-Or to be left home.
In summary, the report claims the following:
- There is no substantial evidence to demonstrate that Bar-Or had not qualified for the 2010 European Championships in Hungary, and his chances of making the Olympic team was severely damaged by not participating at that meet.
- There is evidence that the Israeli Swimming Federation has discriminated against Bar-Or for years, including two specific points of discrimination: A. Bar-Or was barred from training at the elite training center at the Wingate Institute when he was 14; B. May was not allowed to attend the 2009 World Championships in Rome with Bar-Or.
The report also makes some recommendations:
- The committee recommended that a different way be found for elective the Federation's administrative committee and the sub-committees of the Federation in the future.
- The Federation must give a voice to dissenting opinion from the minority clubs within the organization.
- A new way to select the professional committee must be found.
- Bar-Or and May will be funded by the Federation from now until the 2012 London Games.
One remaining question is whether such funding would put Bar-Or at jeopardy within the confines of the NCAA rulebook.
Livnat stated in a press conference shortly after the release of the report that conflicts of interest are found throughout the Israeli sports establishment, and that similar types of discrimination has impacted other Israeli athletes.