Close-call countries caught between OST and universality?

Malaysian media The Star has this story on how the Olympic dream is over for 6 Malaysian swimmers, caught between having made the Olympic invitation time and not being invited by FINA. As swimming coach Paul Birmingham Thomas puts it:

“We also couldn’t apply for wildcards as this wasn’t allowed as we had swimmers who already bettered the Olympic qualifying standards in the first place.

“This is ludicrous as we are deemed not good enough to join the top ranked swimmers at the Olympics while those from countries ranked at the bottom make it.

FINA rules state that if no swimmer makes the qualification or the invitation time, the country may enter one man and one woman, provided that they participated at the Shanghai 2011 World Championships, and rank high enough on the FINA point tables to be among the 150 available ‘universality places’. See also memo.

Now, some of us were told in Debrecen, that if your OST swimmers were too low ranked to be invited, you could revert back to universality, and then have a good chance of being selected (being high-ranked and all). FINA or IOC had at first been hesitant to allow this reversal, but had then finally allowed it.

FINA/IOC selects a total of 900 Olympic swimmers in this order

  1. Those that have made the OQT (Olympic Qualifying Time)
  2. Additional relay-only swimmers for the qualified teams
  3. 150 ‘universality swimmers’
  4. Those that have the OST (Olympic Invitation Time)

Is there anyone out there who can clear this up, whether the Malaysians are truly completely out, or they can apply for two ‘universality places’? Maybe that story on the Star is incorrect, and Malaysians officials know better, og maybe there FINA/OIC rules really are that silly. But if not, I’m sure the Malaysians would be extremely pleased to informed.


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