Swimming at Rio Olympics: Lianna, Haris to represent Pakistan

Swimmers selected by international body on wild cards, says PSF official

Nabil Tahir June 15, 2016

KARACHI: Foreign-based swimmers Lianna Swan and Haris Bandey will represent Pakistan at the Rio Olympics as wild card entrants after the International Swimming Federation (FINA) approved their names.

The two swimmers are participating in the Olympics for the first time. In the last edition, Haris’s elder sister, Anum Bandey, represented Pakistan in the 400m individual medley, along with Israr Hussain taking part in the 100m freestyle event. However, both swimmers failed to qualify for the next round and finished last among 35 participants and 54th out of 56 respectively.

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This time around, the Rio-bound swimmers are foreign-based and have represented Pakistan in several championships, including the recently held South Asian Games where Lianna became the first Pakistani swimmer to win a gold medal in the event. Haris, on the other hand, failed to perform well.

Pakistan Swimming Federation (PSF) Secretary Veena Masud revealed FINA selects the participants on the basis of the World Aquatics Championship held in Kazan, Russia last year, which also served as a qualifying event for the Olympics.

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“FINA’s policy of awarding wild card entries is based on the points won in the qualification round,” Veena told The Express Tribune.

While there is no official record of points earned in championship, Veena claims that Haris and Lianna had the most points among Pakistanis.

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Haris represented Pakistan in Kazan along with Muhammad Saad Amin, who has a better national record than Haris but, according to Veena, was unable to perform well in the world championships. “Saad is also a good swimmer, but Haris had more points according to FINA, so we have to go with what they say,” she said.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2016.

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