Top divers face competition ban after cap complaint
A harmless cap has landed Canadian Olympic divers in hot water with FINA.
The sport’s international governing body has received complaints that a simple white bathing cap worn by competitors Jennifer Abel and Meaghan Benfeito should be reviewed as it may give them an unfair advantage.
Olympic.ca has learned from Diving Canada staff that Abel and Benfeito – who have combined for six World Series medals in two competitions already this season – could face competition bans and have existing results thrown out if found guilty.
Abel, who brought home three medals from the latest World Series competition in Dubai, was shocked but defiant when told of the FINA review.
“This is our cap. We wear them to keep warm and our hair dry when possible. It doesn’t give us an advantage. If another country has a problem with it, they should get their own cap,” Abel said, saying she has no intention of changing her routine.
While it is still unclear who raised the cap issue with FINA, some feel that rival nations have wised up to Canada’s rise in diving and are colluding to keep Canadians off the podium. It is believed that because capless competitors get water in their ears, the Canadians have an advantage. Some argue the caps allow greater ease of entry into the water.
Abel and Benfeito are both Olympic medallists. They make up half of the ‘Fab IV’ Canadian divers, along with Roseline Filion and Pamela Ware, all expected to compete for and bring Team Canada many medals at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. A ban could keep Canada from making a big splash at the Pan Am diving pool.
“I can’t believe this,” a despondent Benfeito, who recently saw the podium three times at World Series competition in Beijing, said while in Toronto recently. “I literally don’t believe this story, it must be some kind of a joke,” she said.