June 12 - Andy Hunt, the Team GB Chef de Mission and chief executive of the British Olympic Association (BOA), said today that the criteria for team selections need to be made "much clearer" and added that his organisation would launch a thorough review after the London 2012 Games aimed at making decisions more transparent.

The BOA has been embroiled in a number of contentious selection questions in recent weeks, including in fencing, where the three final team members were announced here, triathlon, where two places went controversially to athletes dedicated to assisting others towards medals, and taekwondo, where Aaron Cook is considering whether to take legal action following his controversial omission from the British team.

"I think there is a commerciality which is probably the changing nature of Olympic sport generally," said Hunt (pictured above).

"For ourselves at the BOA it's been a learning track in that we will after the Games find a bit of time looking at how we deal as much as possible with subjectivity and in exceptional cases where we do need to be exercising judgement on special cases we need to make the criteria much clearer and perhaps ranked so that other people can understand how these judgements have been made.

"I don't think anybody should have any concern about exactly how we are making these decisions."

Hunt insisted, however, that the BOA was totally satisfied that selection policy had been followed faithfully by GB Taekwondo in choosing Muhammad Lutalo rather than Cook (pictured below, left), who is ranked world number one, for the -80kg place.

"We probably spent collectively at the BOA over 200 hours on that one issue," he said.

"That's a fact.

"Two hundred hours.

"I'm confident that the end point we got to – although there were lots of people who don't necessarily like the outcome – our job was to make sure that fair process in accordance of the selection policy was totally followed.

"And I am utterly confident that is what took place.

"Hence why the nomination was ratified."

He added that he had yet to hear back from the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) about how they wish to proceed with their impending review of selection processes.

Hunt accepted that Britain's option of host nation qualification places this year had created a unique pressure on selection processes.

"With host nation places available, the selection policies are different to qualifying on merit," he said.

"So you do get more perhaps subjective judgements needing to be made as to who will put up the most credible performance or who has the most potential for 2016.

"So that's a part of it.

"There's also a massive interest in competing at a home Games.

"And the third factor is that there are more sponsors, more agents, more interested parties in supporting athletes fighting to the last moment to be named as an individual on the team.

"You are seeing a little bit of change that we will see, probably, going forwards.

"But there are very few athletes who are resorting to legal action.

"There are quite a lot who have appealed to their governing body.

"There are very few whose appeals have been upheld.

"There's obviously one case where it's spiralled into involvement with ourselves.

"Having said that, we look very, very carefully wherever there is an appeal.

"We will see the minutes, we will go through it in detail, we are looking at the selection policy to make sure it follows exactly what is set out and we are comfortable with it.

"To take the example of fencing, we are completely comfortable they followed due process and none of the appeals were upheld and therefore there was no requirement for re-selection.

"An athlete might then try and take some other action, but in every case an athlete signs up to the selection policy, and that is usually a binding process.

"I am really sympathetic to the incredible journey many athletes have made in trying to make selection.

"But to take the example of triathlon domestiques, that has always been a selection policy.

"That's what every athlete signs up to.

"This journey they were going into involved trying to be selected because they had the potential to reach the podium or they were supporting the other athletes getting there.

"Retrospectively some athletes might now say to themselves, 'I wish there was a different approach,' but that's too late.

"We have reviewed that and support what the governing body is trying to do.

"At the end of the day they will be judged by the results."

By Mike Rowbottom at the Institute of Education in London

Source: www.insidethegames.biz


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