The Conversation Continues

We have been reporting on the confusion that has plagued Eyad’s Application to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As normal, Swimming New Zealand (SNZ) has turned what should have been a straight forward clerical process into a bureaucratic nightmare. Our principal problem is the requirement for the NZ Olympic Committee (NZOC) to obtain SNZ approval for any swimming facts included in the Application. As those involved in swimming know only too well, nothing involving SNZ is ever easy. The NZOC are finding that out at a hundred miles an hour. This exchange of emails shows exactly what I mean. First, an email from the NZOC.

Hi David

I have been alerted to the following article on the Swim Watch website.

It is unfortunate to see this online when in fact NZOC, with the assistance of Swimming NZ, has spent considerable time and effort in an attempt to obtain a Refugee Training Grant for Eyad.  We have at all stages been fully supportive of this process and, as an organisation, believe the inclusion of the Refugee team at Rio and Tokyo has and will be, one of the most meaningful and inspiring initiatives of the IOC.

We have been working hard with you on Eyad’s application but what has prevented an application from being finalised, is not  a lack of any form of swimming ranking, but in fact the inclusion of incorrect information from yourself on Eyad’s performances and rankings (i.e. you stated he was the 2017 Auckland, New Zealand Champion in 2017 when in fact he was 5th at the  2017 Auckland Regional Championship and 15th in the New Zealand Open Championship the same year and that he is currently has a FINA World Ranking of 120 FR 50 when in fact, he is not internationally ranked). To say that we have rejected the application based on not having a ranking or on racial grounds, is misleading and inflammatory.

We have provided you with an application form to be signed that contains the required information, including his personal best and 2017/2018 results.   As we have explained to you, FINA and Swimming NZ rankings were not required to complete the application. We had been hopeful that this information would be sufficient to lodge an application with Olympic Solidarity.  We do however, have concerns that the additional information you continue to provide, cannot be substantiated. Our integrity and ability to stand by the application made on Eyad’s behalf must not be compromised.

Accordingly, we suggest you review your post.



Followed by my self-explanatory reply.

Tara Good Morning

Your email was not unexpected. I do want to stress that in any correspondence on this matter I have been careful to avoid allocating any blame on the NZOC. The reason for this is because I am of the view that you have acted in good faith. However I am also convinced you have been led astray by Swimming New Zealand (SNZ). I believe you have been lied to by those you copied with your most recent email, Steve Johns and Amanda White. I am of course disappointed that you quickly believed SNZ and dismissed my data as incorrect.. The best way to look at what has happened is to consider the specific points raised in your email.

1.    The inclusion of incorrect information from yourself

In this email I hope to be able to prove that the information provided to you by me is accurate and that you have either been lied to or misinformed by SNZ.

2.    You stated he was the 2017 Auckland, New Zealand Champion in 2017 when in fact he was 5th         

Eyad was 5th in the 2016/17 Auckland Championships. However he won the 50 freestyle in the 2017/18 Auckland Championships. That is the result we have consistently used in the Application; not the SNZ result that is 12 months out-of-date. I am sure Swimming Auckland can confirm his first place. In fact as a result of winning the event Eyad was awarded the Norma Williams’ Family Centennial Cup. Because SNZ clearly do not want to acknowledge Eyad’s victory I have attached to this email three photographs taken last night of the trophy. Because the inscription is not clear I can confirm that it says




2009 and subsequent years up to


I do hope that this photographic proof is sufficient for you to be concerned that the information from SNZ is very suspect and the information we have provided is accurate. If you require further confirmation that our data is accurate please consult Brett Green the CEO of Swimming Auckland. Email –

3.    And he was 15th in the New Zealand Open Championship the same year

Here again we have no argument with the assertion that Eyad was 15th in the NZ Opens in the same year. That is why we never used out-of-date results but instead used his most recent results from the 2018 National Short Course Championships. Why SNZ insist on providing you with old times I have no idea. They must know the hurt it causes. They certainly have access to his most recent SC Championship results. However the reason we delayed sending you the Application until November was to gather his most up-to-date progress from the SC National Championship. We have made the point many ties that 6 months additional training is a lifetime for a swimmer like Eyad. Our figures are a true reflection of his most recent Championship performance. SNZ has given you bad information.  .

4.    He is currently has a FINA World Ranking of 120 FR 50 when in fact, he is not internationally ranked

We explained to you in the first draft of the Application that we had estimated Eyad’s international ranking by going through the FINA rankings lists and finding where Eyad’s SC best time would rank. However when you pointed out that this sort of estimation was not acceptable to you we wrote “N/A” in that section from then on. You should note the only reason Eyad does not have a FINA ranking is because SNZ has been too lazy to send his times to FINA to be included in their lists. It is hard to escape the impression that at every turn Eyad’s chances of being accepted by FINA are being sabotaged by SNZ incompetence or worse.

5.    The additional information you continue to provide, cannot be substantiated.

I do hope the above goes a long way to clarify that all the information provided can be substantiated. The Auckland Championship result can be substantiated by Swimming Auckland and the other results are on the SNZ website. Even Eyad’s New Zealand ranking is available to SNZ. Why they refuse to provide you with that information I have no idea. As you know I used the “Take Your Marks” website. I still believe that is accurate. However it could be confirmed for you by a couple of clicks of a SNZ mouse.

I understand that you have chosen to take the word of the people at SNZ. I hope I have been able to prove to you that is an error. SNZ has clearly lied about the Auckland Championships and the National rankings and have maliciously used old information ahead of Eyad’s most recent Championship results.

However I understand that you will be reluctant to take my word for that and so I have filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission who offers the prospect of acting as an independent and unbiased referee. If however accurate and up-to-date information can be agreed on Eyad’s Application I would be delighted to withdraw my complaint. As far as the Swimwatch story is concerned as things stand right now I believe the information it contains is fair comment. When SNZ accept and alter the incorrect information they have given you then the story will be removed or amended.


David Wright

What a shambles; the photograph of the Auckland Championship trophy is at the top of this story. Last time I checked Swimming Auckland don’t hand these out to swimmers who come fifth. Seems that is a hard concept for Steve Johns to get his brain around. The guy needs help.

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