Philippines appeals forfeiture of swimmer’s gold medal



NAY PYI TAW – The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) reached out to the Myanmar Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Myasoc) to appeal the forfeiture of Jasmine Alkhaldi’s victory in the 27th SEA Games.

In a letter adressed to U Naw Taung, chairman of the Sports and Rules Committee of Myasoc, chef de mission Jeff Tamayo sought for a reversal of the decision and retention of official result in which Alkhaldi won the gold medal in the women’s 100m freestyle Thursday night.

Tamayo cited six circumstances on why a re-swim is no longer necessary and claims that Alkhaldi’s gold should stand.

Alkhaldi zoomed from the last 50-meter mark to outrace Singapore’s Tien Wen Quah and Amanda Xiang Lim with a clocking of 56.65 seconds.

It could have been the first gold medal of the 20-year-old University of Hawaii standout in any international competition, and the first swimming gold medal by a Filipina since Akiko Thomson won in the 1995 SEA Games.

But in a cruel twist, technical officials forfeited her victory, saying that there was a false start based on the protest filed by Thailand.

Officials asked Alkhaldi to return her gold medal after the awarding ceremonies and ordered for a re-swim late Friday to determine the rightful winner.

“There was no concrete or written explanation citing violations or infringements of FINA Rules regarding the issue has been formally rendered to date; how was the decision for a re-swim reached?” posed Tamayo.

In a separate letter, Philippine Swimming, Inc. president Mark Joseph requested Tamayo to push through with the protest because stripping Alkhaldi with the gold medal violates the principle of fair play.

Also, based on Fina rules for swimming, a re-swim will only be called if there is a tie.

“The settlement of Thailand’s protest by calling for a re-swim is simply out of order,” said Joseph in a two-page letter from Manila.

Carlos Brosas said he is no longer optimistic over the outcome of the protest. The best-case-scenario, he added, is for the organizers to call off the re-swim pending the result of the investigation.

He also hinted that Singapore – a powerful swimming country which is gunning for a sweep – could be behind the controversy. After all, the Southeast Asian Swimming Federation is being ran by the Singaporeans.

Brosas also related he was advised by the present International Swimming Federation (Fina) technical official, Woon Sui Kut of Singapore, not to protest “because further protest to the jury will not only prosper and the decision will not be overturned.”

“The guys that really run the shows, the bigwigs so to speak, are Singaporeans,” said Brosas.

“I’m just wondering. If the second and third placers were not Singaporeans and somebody filed the protest, I don’t know if there’s going to be a recall. I doubt it so much.”

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