Our attention has been drawn to some spurious allegations made by a Ghanaian swimmer Miss Ophelia Swayne and her mother Nana Otua Swayne on social and mainstream media, which seeks to impugn the integrity of the Ghana Swimming Association.
We are shocked by these allegations and wish to state that they are false, and calculated to tarnish the image of the association.
For the records, the Ghana Swimming Association Board does not select swimmers to any competition, as pertains in all other sporting disciplines. Rather, the selection is done by a competent team of technical staff, who do a painstaking job of picking swimmers on merit after each National Open Championship; and these swimmers in turn train under the National Coach so as to feature at international competitions such as the World Swimming Championship and the Olympic Games.
As far as the Olympic Games is concerned, a swimmer needs to qualify in two classifications, namely A (24.00 secs) and B (26.05 secs). If the swimmers of a federation fail to qualify on these criteria, an option of Wild Card is given to the country; and for a swimmer to qualify for the Wild Card, he/she must have participated in the World Swimming Championship preceding the Olympics (in this case, the FINA World Championship in Kazan – Russia). The Wild Card options are for one best female and one best male swimmers who should have participated in the World Swimming Championship in Kazan.
In the case of Ophelia Swayne, as she did not qualify for the Wild Card option by virtue of the fact that she did not take part in the championship in Kazan, she was given the opportunity to qualify by time when the Ghana Swimming Association sent her to Bucharest, Romania for an Olympic qualifier.
At the Olympic qualifying tournament in Romania, Ophelia made a time of 28.41 seconds for the 50 meters freestyle for Class B, when the qualifying time was 26.05 seconds.
Instead of apologising to sponsors and the Ghana Swimming Association for her abysmal performance in Bucharest, and resolving to do a better time at the next qualifiers, she has resorted to casting aspersions on the Ghana Swimming Association.
We urge the public to disregard the ranting of the young lady who has failed to live up to expectations.
The Ghana Swimming Association wishes to inform the general public that the actions of Ophelia Swayne are calculated to win the sympathy of Ghanaians after failing to qualify for the Olympics after all the investments of the Association and sponsors.
We also urge the public to be wary of individuals who may, in pursuit of personal gains, play on the emotions and sympathetic side of Ghanaians.
We wish to advise Ophelia Swayne and her mother to desist from making a mockery of themselves in the media, and add that we reserve the right to take any action, including resorting to the law courts, in our bid to protect the image and integrity of the Ghana Swimming Association.
Signed: General Secretary
Ghana Swimming Association