FINA Confirm Doha 2024 Will Be Olympic Relay Qualification Meet; Only Top Three To Book Slots In Fukuoka

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

FINA Confirm Doha 2024 Will Be Olympic Relay Qualification Meet; Only Top Three To Book Slots In Fukuoka

FINA have confirmed only the top-three finishers in each relay event will qualify for Paris 2024 at next year’s World Championships in Fukuoka with the remaining 13 teams booking their slots at the Doha worlds, less than six months before the Olympics and weeks before trials season.

The current practice is for 12 relay teams to qualify at the World Championships 12 months ahead of the Games with a further four booking their slot at FINA-approved qualification events in the months before the Olympics.

However, FINA has stated only the top-three finishers in each relay will qualify at the 2023 worlds in Japan with the remaining slots to be filled in Doha following their finishing positions in the prelims.

It puts the world federation on a collision course with some swimmers who had already voiced their opposition to Doha being staged from 2-18 February 2024 with Paris set to run from 27 July and the majority of national trials to start in April.

James Guy, who won double relay gold in Tokyo, stated last week “I ain’t going” following concerns expressed by British teammates Adam Peaty and Duncan Scott.

Last month British Swimming head coach Bill Furniss pointed to an unfair advantage some teams would hold with the USA finishing on the podium in every relay on the Olympic programme at the worlds in Budapest and Australia on all but one.

Should they replicate that in Fukuoka, it would mean them having uninterrupted preparation ahead of the Olympics while other countries – including host nation France would have to send their elite teams – prepared and rested – to Doha.

To Furniss it was an issue of fairness and was hopeful that the “federations sit down and some sensible talks take place.”

However, the qualification system for Paris 2024 was announced on Monday which confirmed the information that had previously emerged.

It stated:

“Three (3) NOCs per relay event shall be qualified for the corresponding relay event at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 based upon the final results achieved in their performances at the 20th FINA World Championships 2022 in Fukuoka, Japan (to be held in July 2023).

“If there is a tie for third (3rd) place in any of the relays, all NOCs involved in the 3rd-place tie will be invited to compete in the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

“The remaining thirteen (13) teams per relay event shall be the teams with the fastest times based upon the results achieved in their preliminary heat performances in the 21st FINA World Championships 2024 in Doha (QAT), excluding those teams already qualified in that event from the 20th FINA World Championships 2022 in Fukuoka, Japan (to be held in July 2023).

“If there was a tie for 3rd place in any of the relays from the 20th FINA World Championships 2022 in Fukuoka, Japan, only twelve (12) teams in that relay event from the 21st FINA World Championships 2024 in Doha (QAT) will be invited to compete in the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

“At the 21st FINA World Championships 2024 in Doha (QAT), if there is a tie in any of the relay events for the final place for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, all NOCs involved in the tie will conduct a head-to-head swim-off in that event to determine the final invitation.

“This swim-off will be conducted on a date and time that is mutually agreeable to all involved NOCs, though FINA will have the final approval of this date and time.”

Should any team that has qualified choose not to compete in the relay, the next quickest team will be offered the place.

 

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