I Gede Siman Sudartawa has been given an Olympic ticket from world swimming body FINA despite protests from fellow Indonesian swimmer Glenn Victor.
“I received the letter last week. It said that I was among the qualified swimmers for London,” Siman, 18, told reporters on the sidelines of a press conference held by the Indonesian Olympics Committee (KOI) in Jakarta on Tuesday.
“I’m obviously happy about it, because it will be my debut in the Olympics. At the SEA Games, it was also my first time, and I did well,” Siman said.
Siman — the Southeast Asian Games gold medalist in the men’s 50 meters, 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay in 2011 — said that FINA had appointed him to represent Indonesia at the London Games, as the nation has earned an Olympics’ “B” qualification.
Such nations are allotted a single swimmer to the Games, while Olympics “A” nations can send two swimmers. Organizers have capped the number of swimmers at the London Games to 900.
Other than Siman, Indonesia has received the go ahead to send 20 athletes to London, following the wildcard berth given to sprinter Fernando Lumain and the unused quota spot given to shooter Diaz Kusumawardhani.
Siman was worried about his fate in London after Glenn sent a protest email to FINA.
Siman’s coach Albert C Sutanto said that he was aware of Glenn’s protest.
“I think it’s about FINA being unclear on why it appointed Siman to the Olympics. In its letter, dated on June 20, FINA did not mention its reason for Siman’s designation.” Albert said.
“In Glenn’s opinion, if FINA makes the decision based on world rankings, Glenn deserves [the spot] more,” Albert told The Jakarta Post. Glenn is ranked No. 97 in the world, while Siman is ranked 113.
“Siman should not worry about it. As long as we receive no reply from FINA on Glenn’s protest, Siman owns the ticket.”
Albert said that Siman deserved the ticket as he was young, the best-performing Indonesian swimmer at the Southeast Asian Games and had improved his best men’s 100m backstroke time from 55.59 seconds to 55.32 seconds at an Olympics qualifier in Singapore last week, Albert said.
Siman’s previous best had been a SEA Games’ record, breaking the 56.16 seconds recorded by Malaysian Lim Keng Liat in 2001