Kenyan Swimmer Speaks Out On FINA Ban: “It’s Not Fair For Me To Be Silent Anymore”

Kenyan swimmer Swaleh Talib has let his displeasure with the way the country’s national swimming federation has been operating be known.

After failing to meet multiple deadlines for elections, the Kenyan Swimming Federation (KSF) received an indefinite suspension from FINA in May, and then at the recently-concluded World Championships in Budapest, a three-member ‘stabilization committee’ was appointed to run the federation for the remainder of the year.

The KSF’s difficulties at the top have had a trickle-down effect on the athletes, particularly so in the ability to compete at major championship meets.

The KSF hosted its national trials for the Commonwealth Games in Kasarani Nairobi, Kenya, on May 6-9, where the top four male and top four female swimmers based on FINA points would be named to the team for the Commonwealth Games, which will begin in Birmingham, England, later this month.

Talib, who attends the University of Stirling in Scotland, was among the men to meet that criterion.

However, the Kenyan Olympic Committee then released budget cuts which resulted in the Commonwealth team being cut in half, with only the top two male and two female swimmers able to head to Birmingham.

Emily Muteti, Imara Bella Thorpe, Ridhwan Mohammed and Monyo Maina were the four swimmers that remained on the Commonwealth roster, while Talib was among those knocked out.

With the top names opting not to compete at the World Championships, where Kenya’s swimmers could only race as neutrals due to the suspension, Talib turned his focus there, and went on to race the men’s 50 free and 100 free in Budapest.

Previously, SwimSwam reported that there was a controversy surrounding the selection of Kenyan athletes to the Commonwealth team who trained abroad, which Talib says is not the case. It was simply the budget cuts that removed him, and a few others, from the roster.

The 22-year-old also said that certain KSF stakeholders were lobbying for all four swimmers on the women’s team to compete at the Commonwealth Games in hopes of winning a medal, but not the men.

“It is unfair for stakeholders to be fighting for only the female team to attend and not the initial team of eight swimmers, including the men,” he said.

“There are certain stakeholders who are making the election process harder to achieve and making it harder for the working group to accomplish certain goals to get the suspension lifted. If the same stakeholders gain a position in the federation it will be a disaster and it will be the death of Kenyan swimming.”

The new stabilization committee, head up by former South African Swimming Federation President Jace Naidoo, is slated to conduct a proper election for the KSF board of directors in the coming months.

“At this point, I have been one of the swimmers most affected by the situation and it’s not fair for me to be silent about it anymore,” Talib added.

“I only want a better future for the upcoming swimmers in Kenya and stop them from having to go through what the past generation of swimmers have gone through.”

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John Miranda
1 year ago

Politics aside, no mention of how fast this guy is written anywhere in this article…?!?!?

There are now qualification times for any nation to enter two athletes in an individual event. At the recent Long Course World Championships, I believe the time for a second competitor in the men’s 50 free was 22.00. So it can clearly be stated that no nation was allowed to enter two swimmers in the men’s 50 free unless both were capable, at their best, of making it to the Semi Finals.

Yet, someone from a country where swimming is not competitive can go to the World Championships who cannot even break 30 seconds. This absolute nonsense needs to end. If the time… Read more »

Shirley Maina
1 year ago

The so called stakeholders have been posting half truths to the world via swim swam now you have heard from the REAL stakeholders I hope the stabilization committee will speak to the adult swimmers first.They want to use their pain to help the next generation of swimmers

robert kravutske
1 year ago

and we wonder why africa is light years behind the western world in everything…….bad leadership top to bottom……I feel very sorry for the common man……

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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