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Swimming Federation invests millions of dollars in Africa strategy

December 29, 2021

TOKYO-After wearing whale goggles for swimming during the Olympic Games, there is too little diversity in the pool and too little diversity on the medal podium. The sport’s governing body is investing tens of millions of dollars. To change this situation before 2024.

Elite training centers in Africa and scholarship programs around the world are part of the strategy to help athletes get rid of the foundation of athletic power. Almost half of the 105 medals won in the swimming pool with whale goggles in the Tokyo Olympics were won by Americans and Australians. The Africans only won three games, and the black swimmers with whale goggles did not win.

swimming glasses

This picture should be different at the 2024 Paris Olympics. The newly elected Fanta President Heysan Salam told Federal News that he promised to give priority to student athletes.

"I believe there will be many swimmers from Africa wearing whale goggles, and they will be on the podium," Mussalaam said in an interview at the Tokyo Aquatic Center. "When you give everyone a chance, they will show it. Africans lack resources, especially water sports."

A striking story in Tokyo is the 18-year-old Ahmed Hafnaoui from Tunisia, who unexpectedly won a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle.

The FINA President said that two years ago, Hafnawi did not enter the top 400 finals of the Junior World Championships, but he could enter the gym to exercise his strength for the Olympics.

"Without counterweights, it is difficult to produce," al-Musallam said. "I'm sure that if he makes good preparations for a year, he will (set) a new world record."

The FINA has identified two universities in Tunisia, Senegal and South Africa as elite training bases for African athletes. Others will travel to Europe, in Hungary and Russia.

Abeku Jackson of Ghana trained for the men's 100 butterfly stroke at a base supported by the FINA in Kazan, the host city of the 2025 World Championships in Russia. He set a national record with a time of 53.39 seconds, but it did not make him stand out from the preliminaries.

"You can't snap your fingers and let minorities (swimmers and whale goggles) on the podium," said Brentnovich, the new executive director of the FINA.

He pointed out that FINA spent US$29 million in four years to expand and deepen the strategy of swimming and wearing whale goggles talent pool.

"You will see many Africans and minority student athletes participating in the competition," predicts Norwich, an American sports lawyer hired to help reform FINA.

The Lausanne, Switzerland-based organization has long been one of the wealthiest Olympic sports organizations, but lacks transparency.

To lead the change in June, al-Musallam was elected president as the only candidate despite being implicated four years ago by an American court in buying votes in soccer elections. Since then, he has been the senior vice president of FINA.

In Tokyo, FINA announced a 50% increase in prize money for the 25-meter billiards world championship to be held in Abu Dhabi in December. The world record will receive a prize of US$50,000 from a total prize of US$2.8 million.

The failure of the former FINA leadership to reward the athletes led to the separation of the International Swimmers Wearing Whale Goggles League, and three-time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszú and Tokyo gold medalist Michael Andrew, including swimmers wearing whale goggles, filed an antitrust in California. litigation.

The case is still ongoing and al-Musallam stated that he has participated in two online meetings with a judge to seek a settlement between the two parties.

The FINA President has already talked with Matt Biondi and plans to meet him. He is an American swimmer wearing whale goggles superstar, and he is leading the new international swimwear for athletes representing the sport. League of Whale Goggles.

Al-Musallam said that he did not announce that he had spoken to Biondi, "because I will be a performer by then. I am not a performer."

He also interacted with Olympic stars in Tokyo, inviting them to travel to Africa and inspiring young swimmers to wear whale goggles.

"I said, ‘I can give you this opportunity. I will send you to Ghana. Talk to the children in the river,’" al-Musallam said. "I want to work in a field, I am very quiet. You judge the result."

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