The 2015 LEN European Short Course Championships are fast-approaching, scheduled to take place at the Wingate Institute in Netanya, Israel on December 2nd-6th. Over 50 countries are expected to attend the event in the city positioned 30 km north of Tel Aviv, however, the Times of Israel is reporting that Germany may no longer be one of them.
According to an article published in the times on Sunday, November 22nd, the “majority of German swimmers are considering skipping the upcoming Championships due to security fears”. 13 of the 25 swimmers on the German roster set to travel to Netanya are having second thoughts, including butterfly specialist Alexandra Wenk. Says Wenk, “Honestly, for me, the risk just seems too great.”
German National Head Coach Henning Lambertz is quoted as saying he is “not hot to out there [to Netanya]”, indicating he would make the final decision closer to the start date. The German Swimming Federation has left the choice to all swimmers and coaches, according to the piece.
Not all in the German line-up are having doubts, however, as 200m breaststroke World Champion Marco Koch said “The security in Israel will be good. It’s no more dangerous than anywhere else.”
Citing an entirely different reason for potentially not attending the competition, current 200 freestyle world record holder Paul Biedermann says his participation in the Short Course Championships “depends on my ability to swim fast” during prelims. Biedermann opted out of the short course World Championships in Doha, Qatar last December due to insufficient preparation.
Last month, we covered a story indicating that the Hungarian Swimming Federation was trying to convince the LEN to enable Hungary to replace Israel as the championship host, citing security concerns in the Middle Eastern region. Responding to SwimSwam’s inquiries at that time, Israel 2015 Championship spokesperson, Gil Lebanony, said of the possible controversy, “We heard the same reports. We spoke with the LEN president [Paolo Barelly] who denied these reports.”
Further, Lebanony told SwimSwam that Barelly had written the Israeli host organization directly with the following statement, “Even though LEN is careful following the international news, it has not started any consultation about an alternative venue instead of Netanya for the next European Short Course Swimming Championships.”
This championship has been swirled in controversy since it was announced. The meet was originally scheduled for January 15th-18th, 2015, but was postponed until this December date.