Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt defends selections after recent controversies
TEAM GB chef de mission Andy Hunt attempted to smother the flames of a growing wildfire of selection appeals with fencing and diving the latest sports to erupt in controversy.
PROCEDURE: Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt is happy with the selection
process for the Olympics
Tuesday witnessed another London 2012 team announcement and another selection storm with fencer Keith Cook claiming that his exclusion from the ten-strong GB team was because he had not filled in a form correctly.
British Fencing had eight discretionary places to award, with two fencers qualifying automatically, but Cook, ranked sixth in Britain and 94th in the world after a spate of recent injuries, was not included.
The 31-year-old says British Fencing informed him they did not know he wished to be considered for selection because they did not have his contact details.
Cook has appealed while fellow male fencer Jon Willis has retired from the sport after his appeal at non-selection fell on deaf ears.
Diving has also seen an appeal lodged by Tonia Couch who was overlooked in the 10m individual platform in favour of Monique Gladding.
Others are bound to follow, but Hunt claims an avalanche of appeal was always inevitable given that selectors' subjectivity was going to be involved in the awarding of discretionary hosts places but is confident there will only be a handful of legal challenges.
He said: "There are host nation places available so actually the selection criteria for which an athlete is selected for a host nation place is different to qualifying on merit at a qualifying tournament. So you do get more, perhaps, subjective judgements needing to be made for who will either deliver the most credible performance or has the most potential for 2016.
"Naturally there's a massive interest in competing at a home games and there are more sponsors, more agents and more interested parties in supporting athletes and fighting until the last moment to get an athlete onto the team.
"It is very few that have actually resorted to legal matters. There are a number that have appealed to their governing body but there are very few of those appeals that have been upheld or gone anywhere.
"We now look very carefully wherever there is an appeal, we receive the minutes from the selection appeal that is taking place and go through it in detail, looking at the selection policy and making sure procedurally that it is followed exactly what they said in the selection policy to make sure we are comfortable.
"A good example is fencing - there were a few appeals and we were totally comfortable with what's gone on in following the selection process. None of the appeals were upheld therefore there was no requirement for reselection.
"It does not mean that an individual might choose to try and take legal action but in every case that an athlete signs up to the selection policy, and that is usually a binding process, has an appeal mechanism within it, but they sign up to that being a full and final outcome."
The tinderbox issue was sparked by Taekwondo world No.1 Aaron Cook's exclusion from the GB squad in favour of Lutalo Muhammad, a competitor ranked 58 places below him.
Despite the BOA ratifying GB Taekwondo's controversial selection, the issue is not an end with the World Taekwondo Federation and, potentially, the Court of Arbitration for Sport able to interfere.
However Hunt maintains the BOA's hands are clean in following their own protocol and says no stone was left unturned in ratifying GB Taekwondo's decision.
"In Taekwondo, the WTF have not come back to me yet with a clear plan of how they are going to undertake their review process of what went on in the selection process with Taekwondo," he added.
"There's not timescale and I don't know the composition of that review. We will absolutely comply with whatever information they need. We have probably collectively in the BOA spent over 200 hours on that one issue.
"That's a fact - 200 hours reviewing documentation and going through the entire process. I am confident that the end point we got to that there's a lot of people out there who do not like the outcome, our job was to make sure fair process in accordance with the selection policy was totally followed.
"I am completely utterly confident that is what took place and hence why the nomination of LM."
© Sportsbeat 2012