South Africa rejects Olympic water polo bid

South Africa rejects Olympic water polo bids; Romania (men) and Canada (women) win places

In a surprising development, Swimming South Africa (SSA) has withdrawn its men’s and women’s water polo teams from the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Director General of the ASS Shaun Adriane say it Daily Maverick that a minimum 12th place finish at the recent World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, was necessary for both teams to travel to the French capital.

In Doha, the South African men finished 15th out of 16 teams while the women finished 14th. The Romanian men’s team, which had not qualified for the Olympics since 2012, and the Canadian women’s team, competing in the 2020 Tokyo Games, were both selected to replace the South Africans.

Reports suggest the SSA announced its decision before informing athletes, many of whom first heard about the decision via social media. Commentators cited the lack of financial support for water polo and the general apathy towards the sport in South Africa.

Keanan Hemmonsbey in the Daily Maverick reported that players selected for the World Championships had to pay around R20,000 out of pocket for flights and accommodation in Doha, as the sport remains largely self-funded.

The South African men’s and women’s polo teams competed at the Tokyo 2020 Games. Both teams finished last in their category, with the women 10th and the men 12th.

Alec Dittman

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