For the first time in 49 years, two relays from Ireland were qualified to race at an Olympic Games, but that feat may be short-lived.
As we reported earlier today, the Greek medley relay, which qualified for this summer’s Games in its own right, was left out of list of top 16 squads invited by FINA to race in Tokyo but has now replaced Ireland.
Having received and accepted FINA’s invitation to compete on Saturday, June 5, we are extremely disappointed that FINA have told us that the invitation was issued in error, particularly given the impact on the affected athletes. Our intention is to challenge the decision and we are currently exploring all options in this regard.
The invitation for Ireland to compete in the Men’s 4x200m Freestyle relay is unaffected. The Tokyo Olympic Games will be the first time since 1972 that Ireland has competed in a swimming relay and the first time ever that an Irish male relay team will compete.
16 countries participate in each swimming relay at the Olympic Games. The fastest 12 teams in the heats at the 2019 World Championships in Gwanju, South Korea gained automatic qualification for Tokyo 2020. The four remaining spots are filled based on performances at FINA designated meets during the qualification period, which ended on May 31, 2021.
In an email to SwimSwam, FINA stated that they are “looking into the matter internally.”
We will report on additional updates as they are made available.