ATHENS, Greece, April 30. THE last day of the Synchronized Swimming Olympic Qualification Tournament, held in Athens, selected the last four duets and teams that will be present in the Olympic Games next August also in the Hellenic capital.
After the technical and free programs, 20 duets and four teams had been selected and few elements of suspense remained for the last session. In the duet event, as no representatives of Africa and Oceania (Egypt and Australia, respectively) were in the first 20 of the regular qualification, two places were in fact in dispute.
Belarus and Bulgaria were the best of the day, followed by Germany and Puerto Rico. These two teams, however, had to give their spots to Australia and Egypt, classified sixth and seventh of the last round (26th and 27th of the final classification).
In the team event, the most awaited fight of the day was for the eighth and final place of the qualification. Greece, as host country, was automatically qualified but finished ninth after the two first routines. France, eighth, was in principle condemned to give its place and this was confirmed in the last session. Even if they finished in eighth place (they were always better than the Greeks), the French team will not be in the Olympics. They had been fourth in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games!
The 24 duets qualified for the 2004 Olympic Games are:
Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Spain, France, Great Britain, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Ukraine, USA.
The eight teams qualified for the 2004 Olympic Games are:
Canada, China, Spain, Greece, Italy, Japan, Russia, USA.