Greek swimmer gets Rio spot after FINA U-turn

Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:37am EDT
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By Graham Wood

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek 100 meters butterfly champion Kristel Vourna has spoken of her “relief and joy” after an unlikely U-turn by the World Swimming Federation (FINA) following an initial blunder which means she can participate in next month's Rio Olympics.

The 24-year-old, who was initially told by FINA two weeks ago that she had qualified for the Games after making the B standard time, was left devastated days later when the ruling body said her invitation was down to an administrative error.

According to FINA regulations, in order for two athletes from the same country to participate in the same event both must have posted A standard times.

This was not the case for Vourna, who was behind compatriot Anna Doundounaki, and FINA retracted her invitation having realized its mistake.

But following discussions between the Greek swimming federation (KOE), the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and FINA, Vourna has been reinstated.

“It’s been a very strange couple of weeks and I’ve been through all kinds of emotions, but now the most strongest ones are relief and joy that I’m going to Rio,” Vourna told Reuters.

“I didn’t expect FINA to change their decision at all. I was really upset and actually more angry than anything else.”

Initial efforts by the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) to reinstate Vourna were rejected by FINA which said there could be no exceptions.   Continued...

Kristel Vourna of Greece competes in the women's 100m butterfly heats during the 2012 European Swimming Championship in Debrecen May 24, 2012.         REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo