The Jerusalem Post reports that a Syrian swimmer, Bayan Jumah, withdrew from the eighth 50m freestyle preliminary heat today. Jumah’s lane was directly alongside Israeli swimmer Anya Gostomelsky‘s.
JPost did not include an explanation from Jumah or the Syrian Olympic Committee.
This is the second such incident of the Beijing Games. Earlier this week we wrote about Iranian swimmer Mohammad Alirezaei suddenly withdrawing from a 100m breaststroke preliminary heat in which an Israeli was to swim, ostensibly because of stomach pains. Despite the obvious political implications (Iran prohibits contact with Israelis) the IOC accepted Alirezaei’s explanation, and the issue has not been pursued further.
Gostomelsky, who failed to qualify for semifinals despite setting a new Israeli record, said, “I didn’t notice that the lane beside me was empty. It’s her problem.”
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