Olympics: Scottish pair appeal over non-selection for London 2012
TWO Scottish athletes have lodged appeals over their non-selection by the Great Britain team for the Olympic Games.
Shooter Matthew Thomson has appealed to the British Olympic Association, having already had one appeal turned down under British Shooting’s own procedures. And fencer Keith Cook has appealed to British Fencing, arguing that it breached its own selection policy and procedures.
Thomson, a 26-year-old from Edinburgh, remains confident that he has a strong case to be included in the team for the London Games, despite losing his appeal to arbitration body Sports Resolutions. He argues that, as his world ranking was higher than that of rival James Huckle, he should have been selected instead of the Englishman to compete along with Jonathan Hammond.
But, as well as hoping that he wins his own case, the former world junior champion hopes he can help up clean up a selection process which has come under increasing criticism. “Obviously my desired outcome is for me to compete at London 2012 in my event of 50m Rifle Prone,” Thomson writes in his letter to the BOA. “This would be achieved by the BOA overturning British Shooting’s decision to send James Huckle instead of me. Clearly this is a major decision, but one I feel is justified.
“Whether the decision is overturned or not, I think it is of the utmost importance for the BOA to: investigate British Shooting’s selection decisions; review the selection policy and procedure and whether they were followed; review the staff involved with British Shooting and whether it is appropriate for them to be considered as experts.”
Thomson’s world ranking of 44th was 14 places above that of Huckle immediately prior to selection, but British Shooting, deciding that neither man would be a medal contender in London, opted for Huckle on the grounds that he had greater potential
of winning a medal at the Rio Games of 2016. Thomson argues that such a judgement is highly subejctive, and should not hold sway over statistical evidence such as world rankings.
While Thomson was at least considered for selection, Cook was astounded to learn that he had been omitted because, according to British Fencing, he had not supplied them with his contact details and they had therefore concluded he was not interested in being picked. “It was getting closer to the Olympics, and I was thinking ‘This is not right’,” said the 31-year-old, who left British Fencing’s ‘Olympic Pathway’ programme in late 2010 for family reasons.
“I emailed the performance manager and asked to be let known what was going on because I had not received any information. I got one back saying it was to do with not giving your email address and phone number, and I said ‘You must be joking’. I have had constant emails, text messages and phone calls from the performance manager. I was part of the team who have been there for six years. I said ‘No way are you going to do it on a technicality like that’. They did not give me a chance and did not follow the process of Olympic selection.”
Seven fencers have already been named to compete in the individual events. A further three are due to be named this morning for the team competition, where Cook’s main hope of selection lay.
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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