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
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
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

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little