Tim Whitfield and Kevin Lancaster
TWO athletes omitted from the SA Olympic team are desperately trying to get their non-selections overturned in time to board the plane for London.
Cyclist Cherise Stander (née Taylor) is the SA and Africa time trial champion and clearly ranked as the country’s second-best woman on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) points list, which was supposedly the basis for team selection. Despite her ranking, she was omitted from the three-woman squad chosen for the road race.
She had officially appealed against the decision and the hearing was set for tomorrow. It was expected that there would be a delay. The deadline is July 4.
In a similar case, African weightlifting champion Greg Shushu was left out of the team despite a double gold medal performance at the African Championships.
Shushu’s success at the African Championships earned Team SA a single lifter’s spot for the games, but he was told six days before the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee’s squad announcement that he was too old to be selected for London, and Jean Greeff was picked to fill the weightlifting spot.
Shushu had taken his bid a step further, with his legal representative Howard Snoyman requesting assistance from the London local organising committee.
Stander, who took part in the Beijing Olympics, was ranked 98th in the world and fulfilled Cycling SA’s selection criteria. It was a shock on June 6 when Joanna van de Winkel (138) and Robyn de Groot (323) were selected ahead of her to join SA’s number one, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (23). Although less of a surprise, Lise Olivier (281) was also overlooked with De Groot being selected ahead of her.
Incredibly, Stander scored a mere 20 out of 50 from the selector ratings.
Last week an independent CSA commission met to investigate whether the selection criteria were followed. According to Stander’s attorney, Peter Assenmacher, a member of that meeting said the “selection criteria hadn’t been followed”. This week the team was re-selected and remained unchanged.