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Seychelles at XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo, Japan ‒ July 23 to August 8, 2021 Five athletes named on Seychelles team |06 July 2021

Seychelles at XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo, Japan ‒ July 23 to August 8, 2021     Five athletes named on Seychelles team

Seychelles will be represented by five sportsmen and women at the re-scheduled XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo, Japan from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

The sportsmen and women who will be defending the Seychelles’ colours are Laser sailor Rodney Govinden, swimmers Felicity Passon (female), Simon Bachmann (male), judoka Nantenaina Finesse and track & field athlete Ned Azemia.

They are expected to leave for Tokyo on Sunday July 18.

Govinden is the only one to earn qualification for the biggest multi-sports event after clinching the Laser gold medal at the 2019 African Championship RSX and Laser, in Algiers, Algeria. Govinden finished with a nett score of 22 points which were enough for him to book a place in Tokyo. He had three first places, five second places, one third place, one 10th place and one 11th position, but his two worst finishes – 10th and 11th places – were discarded. A total of 15 sailors including him and compatriot Allan Julie took part in the championship.

This is the second time in succession Govinden qualifies for the Olympics. He made his first appearance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016 and finished 45th overall.

He was also the Seychelles team’s flag bearer.

Swimmers Felicity Passon (female), Simon Bachmann (male), male judoka Nantenaina Finesse and track and field athlete Ned Azemia will be competing in Tokyo on invitation from their international sports bodies under universality places.

Competing in the King’s Park Swimming Pool on Friday February 21, 2020, reigning Sportswoman of the Year Passon achieved the Olympic selection time (OST or B qualifying time) in the 200m backstroke in the heats of the Durban Grand Prix which served as an Olympic Games qualifying event. She touched the wall in 2 minutes 13.94 seconds (2:13.94).

The Olympic selection time for the women’s 200m backstroke was 2:14.30 while the Olympic qualifying time was 2:10.39.

Although Passon met the B qualifying time, she had to wait until June to see if she would make it to Tokyo provided the quota of 878 athletes was not met. She finally received an invitation, but unlike other invitees who only swim one event, she has been given the opportunity to take part in two ‒ 100m backstroke and 200m backstroke.

As for Bachmann, he will be going to the Games despite pressure exerted by the sports ministry on the Seychelles Swimming Association to have him replaced by a Seychelles-born swimmer. Bachmann will line up for the 200m butterfly.

Hailing from Praslin, judoka Nantenaina Finesse will compete in the -90kg weight category.

As for track & field athlete Ned Azemia, he will be making his second appearance at these Games after making his debut in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016 when he clocked 50.74 seconds in the 400m hurdles on August 15, 2016 for a Seychelles record. He has since dipped below the 50-second barrier, bringing the new Seychelles record to 49.82 seconds and that was during the NJCAA Division I Men's Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the BG Products Veterans Sports Complex El Dorado, Kansas, USA on May 2018.

The other members of the country’s delegation are Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games (Socga) president Antonio Gopal, Socga secretary general Alain Alcindor, Socga treasurer Mary Banane as chef de mission, Martin Rodriquez Barrios (doctor), Lynda Jeanne (athletics coach), Francis Labrosse (judo coach), Diogo De Souza Rocha Larenja Pontes (sailing coach) and Anna Marie Heller (swimming coach).

Chef de mission Mary Banane and doctor Martin Rodriquez Barrios are to leave the country on Thursday July 15, while the bulk of the delegation will travel on Sunday July 18. As for judoka Finesse and coach Labrosse, they will leave the country on Saturday July 17 on board a Qatar Airways flight as they could not be accommodated on the same flight as the others. This is because Finesse’s invitation was approved at the last minute.

Seychelles will also have two officials at these Games ‒ Paul Fanchette (swimming) and Michel Bau (badminton).

This will be the 10th time Seychelles takes part in the Olympic Games after making its debut in Moscow, Russia (formerly USSR) in 1980.

The country has also taken part in the Games in Los Angeles, USA in 1984; in Barcelona, Spain in 1992; in Atlanta, USA in 1996; in Sydney, Australia in 2000; in Athens, Greece in 2004; in Beijing, China in 2008; in London, England in 2012; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.

It missed only the 1988 Games in South Korea because of its partial support of the North Korean boycott.

So far, no Seychellois athlete has won a medal at the Olympics.

The Tokyo Olympics were to take place from July 24 to August 9, 2020 but were delayed for a year because of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The decision was based on the information provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach and the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.

The international multi-sport event is now scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

Despite being rescheduled for 2021, the event retains the Tokyo 2020 name for marketing and branding purposes.

This is the first time that the Olympic Games have been postponed and rescheduled, rather than cancelled.

As for the Summer Paralympics, they will be held between August 24 and September 5, 2021 after the Olympics.


Gerard Govinden

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