National swimming champion Kiran Khan claimed that the Pakistan Swimming Federation (PSF) was favouring foreign-based swimmers, who were representing the country at the ongoing Fina World Championships 2013 in Barcelona.
Kiran won 15 gold medals out of 19 swimming events at the National Games in Islamabad earlier this month, a new record set by any swimmer in the history of the games. Furthermore, she also broke a national record in the 50-metre women’s freestyle event, clocking 28.98 seconds.
However, she stated that her medals and efforts fell short as the PSF blind-sided her for the World Championships.
Instead of sending a local athlete, the federation had entered the names of Dubai-based Lianna Swan and UK-based Anam Bandey in the event.
“I checked the Fina website and was shocked to see that the PSF had overlooked my efforts,” Kiran told The Express Tribune. “Last year’s Olympics snub was very tough on me, but I made a comeback to prove myself.
“The PSF now tells us that the foreign-based swimmers are better than us. We don’t have the facilities in Pakistan, but the federation should understand that facilities don’t guarantee capability. I never finished among the bottom 10 in international events.
“Swimming in Pakistan is not about performance anymore. Whoever pays the PSF gets to play.”
Kiran added that she would compete with Swan or Bandey to prove where she stood against them, but the two never participated in local competitions.
“I don’t mind losing to them, but they should at least compete with us to earn their place to represent Pakistan.”
The national swimmer said her aim was to now represent Pakistan at the South Asian Games scheduled to take place in India this year.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2013.
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