Veterans Farida Osman, Quah Ting Wen Late Exclusions from Olympics

Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Veterans Farida Osman, Quah Ting Wen Late Exclusions from Olympics

Veteran female swimmers Farida Osman of Egypt and Quah Ting Wen of Singapore have been ruled out of the Paris Olympics just weeks before they open on procedural grounds.

Osman, 29, was set to represent Egypt for a fourth Games. While she had been confirmed as being in the field, she was told this week that she will not take part due to quota restrictions.

Osman did not attain an A cut, coming closest in the 50 free, where her best time from the 2023 African Games of 24.72 just .02 off the A standard. Though she was the top Egyptian female swimmer in FINA points in the qualification period, World Aquatics has limited the use of Universality spots to swimmers over the age of 30 (Osman doesn’t turn 30 until next January) or swimmers who have made it to two Olympic Games already.

Egypt mistakenly interpreted that statute in offering Osman a place. The three-time World Championship bronze medalist and African record holder has been replaced by 19-year-old Lojine Abdallah.

“My dream of representing Egypt in my fourth Olympics is over because of 0.02 seconds,” Osman wrote on social media. “I am extremely sad over this difficult situation. Despite the amount of effort I put in and all the sacrifices, this is sport. I apologise to all Egyptian sports fans for not participating in Paris and I thank you for your continued support. Best of luck to all members of the Egyptian delegation.”

Quah’s situation fell in a similar vein. The 31-year-old veteran of three Olympics dating to 2008 helped Singapore qualify a women’s 400 medley relay to Paris, along with sister Quah Jing Wen, Levenia Sim and Letitia Sim, setting a national record and finishing ninth at the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha.

But Quah Ting Wen won’t be in Paris because of limitations on relay-only swimmers. Per World Aquatics rules, each relay can only field a maximum of two relay-only swimmers. Letitia Sim is the only Singapore individual with an Olympic qualifying time.

In Quah’s place, Singapore selected distance swimmer Gan Ching Hwee, who has an Olympic B cut in the 1,500 free. She will have to swim the relay anchor leg. It leaves Quah Jing Wen and Levenia Sim as the two relay-only swimmers.

Quah appealed the decision to the Singapore Aquatics and World Aquatics but was rejected. She told The Straits Times that he was, “disappointed and emotionally exhausted” by the events.

“It would have been ideal if we could have sent six athletes to the Games,” SAQ president Mark Chay said. “But … we will have to respect the decision… we urge everyone to get behind our team of five who, I have no doubt, will do us proud.”

The decision dampens the prospects of the Singapore relay in Paris. While likely not medal contenders, a good swim could get Singapore into an Olympic final, which would be a monumental achievement for the program. Replacing Quah – who split 55.00 in Doha and has a best time of 54.62 in the 100 free – with Gan (best time of 58.03, though from 2018) is a significant downgrade.

“I also don’t feel like it’s fair to the other three girls,” Quah said. “I haven’t had any long, extensive talks with my sister yet just because I want her to stay focused. It is still her first Olympics and I want her to go do her best and not be distracted by what I am going through. But this just takes away from what we did in Doha. We did a national record there. We said let’s see how far we can push it in Paris. It was a big step for the sport. I was part of the process of getting there and I just wanted to see it through all the way.”

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