Hungary’s swimming federation to address athletes’ criticism

Hungary's swimming federation said it would compile and make public the swimmers' grievances and continue its efforts to ensure their success.

By: AP | Budapest | Updated: November 17, 2016 10:36 pm
swimming-m Hungary’s swimming federation said athletes can say what would help them achieve even better results. FILE

Hungary’s swimming federation promised Thursday to address growing complaints from athletes on issues ranging from financial support to poor training conditions.

The federation said it would compile and make public the swimmers’ grievances and continue its efforts to ensure their success.

“The athletes, giving their names or anonymously, can say what would help them achieve even better results,” the federation said.

The statement came after several top swimmers, including Olympic champion Daniel Gyurta, expressed doubts about the federation, saying the institution was prioritizing its own interests over those of the athletes.

“It is evident that there is no order surrounding Hungarian swimming,” Gyurta told news website 24.hu. “The saddest part is that this damages the swimmers, who this should all be about.”

The athletes’ comments came after three-time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu on Tuesday called for the resignation of federation president Tamas Gyarfas. He rejected her request, saying it would be detrimental to the sport.

In one dispute, the management company representing short-course world champion Peter Bernek said that the swimmer did not receive money due from the federation to train for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics because of a dispute over a contract about the federation’s use of Bernek’s name and image.

The Strongaa firm said that, based on its experiences, claims by Gyarfas that he and his colleagues were doing everything possible to support the swimmers “are just empty phrases of low veracity.”

Gyarfas, a former journalist, television producer and newspaper publisher, has presided over the Hungarian swimming federation since 1993. He has been a member of the executive committee of FINA, the international federation, since 2009. He is also a member of the Hungarian Olympic Committee.

Budapest will host the 2017 world swimming championships, and it is competing with Paris and Los Angeles to host the 2024 Olympic Games.