Uh-oh, it looks like the Americans aren’t the only ones who will not be competing in the swimming competition of next year’s Youth Olympic Games.
The Canadians are following suit.
According to a report in The Straits Times today, Swimming Canada, the national body for the sport in the country, has decided that the Junior Pan Pacific Championships, which will be held in Hawaii from Aug 26-30, would be a more suitable competition for their top youth swimmers than the YOG.
What do they mean by that? Well, this is their explanation for not competing in the YOG:
“After much deliberation Swimming Canada has determined that it is not strategically appropriate to attend the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
“There were many factors leading to this decision, amongst them being a conflict with the dates for our primary summer competition, the Junior Pan Pacific Championships.
“Suffice to say the key reason for our decision was to ensure our athletes are exposed to the best possible competitive and developmental opportunity. We’re confident that the Junior Pan Pac’s will provide the challenges our athletes require.”
You can find out more at this link.
Back in September, it was reported that USA Swimming decided to pull out its swimmers of the YOG because it preferred to send them to qualifying meetsfo the senior and Junior Pan Pacific Championships. It also said that it felt that the YOG was more a’world peace and education programme’, than it is about ‘high-level competition’.
Since then, the Singapore National Olympic Council and the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports have been at pains to stress that the YOG will feature high standards of competition. But it looks like the Canadians are not convinced.
Here’s something for us to ponder: if the US and Canada have decided to focus on the Junior Pan Pacific Championships instead of the YOG, then isn’t there the strong possibility that other countries that regularly compete in the Junior Pan Pac might do the same.
I checked out the list of competing nations at this year’s Junior Pan Pac which was held in Guam. The 14 countries included traditional powerhouses such as China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Here’s another thought: Even if these countries do send their swimmers to the YOG, how can we be sure that they will be the cream of their crop?
After all, the YOG has only allowed each country to send two boy and two girl swimmers. Who is to say that some of the countries competing in the unior Pan Pac might not be tempted to send their second-tier swimmers to the YOG to make up the numbers?
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan