SINGAPORE: Two more athletes joined Singapore’s contingent for the Tokyo Olympics on Friday (Jul 2) after swimmer Quah Ting Wen and sprinter Shanti Pereira secured universality places at the Games.
Quah “qualified by virtue of being the highest-ranked athlete based upon the FINA Points Table achieved by June 2021”, the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) said in a statement.
"Her points were taken from the 50m Freestyle and the 100m freestyle events," SSA added.
In a Facebook post, the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) said that Pereira “was selected as the nominated universality entry in accordance with SAA’s selection criteria”.
“Shanti Pereira will be competing in the women’s 200m dash event,” SAA added.
Tokyo will be Quah's third Olympic outing, after Beijing in 2008 and Rio in 2016. This year's Games will be Pereira's first.
Quah Ting Wen said that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on training had taken a physical and mental toll.
“My training mates and I have all been trying to make the Olympic Games team since the beginning of 2019, and it has been an even longer season due to COVID, and having training be so stretched out and so inconsistent has been so taxing physically and mentally,” she said.
“I'm really proud of how everyone pushed through and handled it as best they could, and to have so many people … be on the edge of making the team and not qualifying is hard, and I'm disappointed that there won't be more people going.
“Whatever it is, I am proud to be able to wear the flag and represent my country in Japan and will do my best to make everyone proud.”
READ: 'Strict' rules at training camp in Japan but excitement builds as Singapore table tennis team counts down to Olympics
READ: No specific medal target for Singapore’s table tennis team at Olympics, but expectations remain ‘high’, says STTA
Universality places are set aside for National Olympic Committees (NOCs) whose athletes fall short of entry requirements for Olympic events.
In athletics, NOCs with no male or female qualified athlete or relay team can enter their best-ranked male athlete or their best-ranked female athlete in one athletic event, with some exceptions, according to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
In swimming, NOCs with no athletes who have achieved an Olympic qualifying time or Olympic selection time can enter one man and one woman, as long as those athletes competed at the 18th FINA World Championships in 2019 or are approved to compete by FINA, swimming’s governing body.
FINA has made an exception to this for Tokyo due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing NOCs to enter their highest-ranked male or female athlete in one individual event based on the 2021 FINA Points Table, through a performance in an approved FINA Olympic qualifying event.
IAAF and FINA allow NOCs who have qualified athletes from one gender to enter one athlete of the other gender via the universality route.
READ: ‘I owe everything to my mum and dad’: A Singaporean fencer makes history and keeps an Olympics promise
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong offered his best wishes to Quah and Pereira in a Facebook post on Friday.
“Very happy to share that both our swim and sprint queens Quah Ting Wen and Shanti Pereira will be headed to the Olympics,” he wrote.
“Being the athlete with the highest ranked FINA points, Ting Wen received the FINA Universality slot awarded for the Games. We are no stranger to Ting Wen’s achievements. Not only is she one of our veteran Olympians, she also has won numerous accolades and holds six national records.
“Similarly, Shanti was selected as the nominated universality entry in accordance with Singapore’s Athletic Association selection criteria as our top ranked athlete in Singapore. She currently holds the national record of 23.60secs for 200m, and will be competing in the women’s 200m event.
“Wishing both of you all the best! Fly our flag high!”
The Tokyo Olympics are set to take place from Jul 23 to Aug 8.
As Singapore’s Olympics Network, Mediacorp will be bringing you the widest coverage of Tokyo 2020. Go to mediacorp.sg/tokyo2020 for more details now.