SINGAPORE: Swimmer Gan Ching Hwee is set to replace Quah Ting Wen in the women’s 4x100m medley relay at the upcoming Paris Olympics.

Quah’s name was missing from the 22-athlete list at the Team Singapore flag presentation ceremony on Saturday (Jul 6), while Gan’s name was included.

Swimming governing body World Aquatics had offered Gan an invitation to participate in the women’s 1,500m event based on her Olympic consideration time – or Olympic “B” cut – of 16:10.61 clocked earlier this month.

Swimmers automatically qualify for the Games if they meet the Olympic qualifying time, or “A” cut, and may be invited to compete if they meet the “B” cut.

World Aquatics had previously granted Singapore an exemption to allow three relay-only swimmers to compete instead of the maximum of two.

For the Singapore team, only Letitia Sim had met the Olympic qualifying time in the 100m breaststroke.

World Aquatics offered Singapore the choice between sending Quah or Gan, who is also entitled to compete in up to two individual events. 

Quah has appealed the decision.

In response to CNA’s query, Singapore Aquatics said Gan has accepted the chance to compete in Paris.

It also confirmed that Quah has lodged an appeal, which will be heard by the association’s appeals committee on Jul 7.

Singapore Aquatics said that “in the best interest of the team”, it will continue to appeal to World Aquatics for both swimmers to compete at the 2024 Olympics.

Further updates will be given after the appeal processes are complete, it added.

The Singapore women’s 4x100m medley team set a new national record en route to qualifying for the Paris Olympics.

Earlier this year, Quah, her sister Quah Jing Wen, Letitia Sim and Levenia Sim clocked a time of 4m 2.88s to eclipse the previous national record (4m 6.97s) set by the Quah sisters, Letitia Sim and Faith Khoo.

Unlike the individual events, there are no Olympic “A” cut times for relay qualification for the Games.

The top three teams at last year’s World Aquatics Championships made the cut for Paris, while the next 13 countries with the next fastest times from both this year’s and last year’s World Aquatics Championships also qualify.

QUAH’S RESPONSE

Quah told CNA she was “frustrated” and “disappointed.” She explained that she had previously received confirmation of her place on the team, having signed a written invitation from Singapore Aquatics just two days ago on Jul 4.

CNA has seen the document, which indicated that Quah had been nominated for the freestyle leg of the 4x100m medley relay.

“After two years of being told by the coaches the importance of qualifying a relay for Team Singapore, training day in and out for that event and position, and after we actually did our jobs to qualify the team for Paris; to now be replaced by a last-minute addition to the team is not only confusing, but also disappointing,” said the swimmer.

The upcoming Paris Olympics would have been Quah’s fourth and she said that she had made making the relay team a priority.

For the quartet to have qualified for the Games was an “incredible” feat, Quah said.

“But to now know that I qualified (for) that relay and we are not sending our best team there really contradicts everything we’ve been told and taught,” she added.

“I earned my spot on the relay and on the team, and to now be made to feel like my position is less prioritised, it indeed goes against the spirit of the Games, both in merit and principles.”

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