LONDON 2012: Team GB confirm just one British wrestler will take part in Olympics
BRITISH Wrestling has been awarded just one host nation quota place for the London 2012 Olympics - two less than they expected.
MISSING OUT: Bristol's Leon Rattigan will miss out on the Olympics after Team GB confirmed only one team member can be selected in the women's under-55kg category (Reuters)
The British Olympic Association's qualification standards panel ruled the organisation had not achieved the performance criteria they had agreed just over 12 months ago.
And they urged more should be done to secure a meaningful post-Games legacy for the sport, with a particular emphasis on developing grass roots participation.
Six years ago British Wrestling, determined to exploit the opportunities of a home Games, recruited foreign athletes to move to the UK to act as sparring partners for their developing talent.
Five of them have since became part of the elite team through residency, which made some British-born athletes feel they were no longer priorities.
Former European silver medallist Yana Stadnik, who is married to British men's wrestler Leon Rattigan, and Olga Butkevych, who won European bronze last year, are the only two women athletes now on the squad.
And Team GB will now only allow British Wrestling to pick one competitor in the women's under-55kg category.
They insist they had been clear in stating their required targets - namely, a top 16 at the World Championships, the top eight at the European Championships or European Olympic qualifying tournament or the top six at an international Olympic qualification tournament.
But British Wrestling will counter that two wrestlers got close and could follow the lead of Britain's rythmic gymnastics team and refer the decision to an independent resolution panel.
Oleksandr Madyarchyk, a naturalised Briton who was born in Ukraine, finished 18th at the World Championships in the 60kg freestyle while Rattigan, a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, placed seventh in the 96kg freestyle in an Olympic qualification tournament.
However, Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt - who was joined on the panel by Sir Clive Woodward, Mark England and athletes' representative Sarah Winckless - insisted they had the sport's best long-term interests at heart.
“The panel takes very seriously the responsibility of making certain that in those sports where host nation qualification Places will be utilised, the athletes competing for Team GB will be in a position to deliver a credible performance on the field of play," he said.
"There is a standard across Team GB that must be upheld.
"Equally, it is essential that those sports are fully prepared to make the most of the unprecedented opportunity of competing in a home Games and deliver a meaningful participation legacy."
© Sportsbeat 2012