Athletes' fury at Team GB 'farce' sparks selection overhaul for 2016 Olympics - Athletics - Olympics - The Independent

Athletes' fury at Team GB 'farce' sparks selection overhaul for 2016 Olympics

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Minister pledges more transparency as just one of 11 appeals decided this weekend succeeds

Olympic selection policies are to undergo a major overhaul after the embarrassing controversies that have hit the build-up to London 2012, with the sports minister, Hugh Robertson, among those calling for a change. This follows the large volume of appeals by disaffected athletes overlooked for Team GB in several sports, and has been triggered by the exclusion from the Taekwondo team of world number one Aaron Cook in circumstances that brought allegations of bias, because he opted out of GB Taekwondo's training system.

The British Olympic Association chairman Lord Moynihan has told The Independent on Sunday of his "disquiet and concern" at the present system. The BOA, although nominally responsible for the 550-strong Team GB, has no power to overrule selections made by individual sports bodies, only to request them to "think again". He says the BOA will conduct a review after the Games, and that: "We want to have a new process set up in time for the Rio Olympics in 2016."

This could include the right to reinstate athletes if it was felt they had been unfairly omitted, or introducing a "wild card" system that would allow them to be added to the team.

The BOA review will be backed by UK Sport, the government agency responsible for distributing Lottery funding, and by the sports minister, who says: "There has to be a change and it is a challenge for all of us. There will be a new set of funding agreements where we will be addressing that and having much more transparent and accountable selection procedures."

UK Sport chair Baroness Campbell adds: "We will have a much stronger line on governance – there will be sports that need to improve on this."

The latest appeals decided this weekend saw 11 athletes challenge their non-selection for the squad. Only one, Welsh 800m runner Gareth Warburton, was successful. The Warburton decision has added to questions about the consistency of the selection policy of UK Athletics, the governing body, because he did not achieve the two required "A" standard qualifying requirements. Sprinter Richard Kilty, who did have the required A standards in the 200m, had his appeal rejected.

This follows hard on the heels of the decision to select Scottish athlete Lynsey Sharp for the 800m, despite the fact she only achieved B standards, while others, with A standards, were overlooked. The decision sparked fury; with 2000 Sydney games heptathlon gold medallist Denise Lewis labelling it a "farce".

Commenting, UK Athletics boss Ed Warner, chairman of the appeals panel, said: "We appreciate that this is a difficult time for athletes who were not selected to Team GB. Appeals are heard on a matter of process and facts and not opinion."

Former 3,000m runner Zola Budd said urgent, radical change was needed. "I wish there was an international system like in tennis and golf... in addition to national selection. It would give athletes more opportunities to qualify."

Additional reporting by Sunniva Davies-Rommetveit

'All I can do now is prove to everybody that I should have been in the team'

Emma Jackson, 800m

"Not too surprised the appeal was rejected but I had to try... Thanks so much to my family and coach for getting me through this month."

'This proves they have a personal problem'

Richard Kilty, 100m/200m

"They accepted an athlete's appeal who has only one A standard, but dismissed mine and I have two A standards."

'Athletics is my life. I'm pretty low at the moment'

Jemma Simpson, 800m

"Given the chance, I would have peaked at the time of the 800 metres, but it's gone now."

'I appealed because there was space. Never mind'

Laura Turner, 100m/200m

"I was 'selectable' for the Olympics, but a foot injury meant I hadn't raced since 28th April."

'Sometimes life doesn't go as it's "supposed" to go'

Marilyn Okoro, 400m/800m

Selected for the 4x400m relay but reportedly threatened to quit when not picked for the 800m (she ran the fastest time this season). On Friday, she tweeted: "Sometimes life doesn't go as it's 'supposed' to go and if that's the lesson here then so be it!"

'I am absolutely delighted to have been selected'

Gareth Warburton, 800m

Missed out on getting the second qualifying time he needed, by just 0.2 seconds, at last month's European championships in Helsinki. "Gutted", but appealed successfully. "I am joining a fantastic team... and we're all focused on doing Britain proud."

Suggested Topics
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week