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Two shock omissions from the South African Olympic team are desperately trying to get their non-selections overturned in time to board the plane for London.
Cyclist Cherise Stander (nee Taylor) is the South African and Africa time-trial champion and clearly ranked as the country’s second-best woman on the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) points list, which was supposedly the basis for team selection. Despite her ranking, she was a shock omission from the three-women squad chosen for the road race.
She has officially appealed the decision. Her appeal was set for Saturday but was expected to be delayed. The deadline is July 4.
In a similar case of a selection under debate, African weightlifting champion Greg Shushu has been omitted from the team going to the Olympics despite a double gold-medal performance at the African Championships.
Shushu’s success at the African Championships was responsible for Team SA earning a single lifter’s spot for the Games, but he was told six days before Sascoc’s squad announcement that he was too old to be selected for London, and Jean Greeff was picked to fill the weightlifting spot in Team SA.
Shushu has taken his bid to get to the Games 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, is ranked 98th in the world and seemed to comfortably fulfil all the selection criteria laid down by Cycling South Africa (CSA), so it was a shock on June 6 when Joanna van de Winkel (world ranking of 138th) and Robyn de Groot (323rd) were selected ahead of her to join SA’s number one, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (23rd), in the team to go to London. Although less of a surprise, Lise Olivier (281st) was also overlooked, with De Groot being selected ahead of her.
Incredibly, Stander scored a mere 20 out of 50 from the selectors’ ratings.
Last week, an independent CSA commission met to investigate if the selection criteria were followed.
According to Stander’s attorney, Peter Assenmacher, one of the members of that special meeting said it had been accepted that the selection criteria hadn’t been followed. However, this week the team was evidently reselected, and remains unchanged.
Stander won the 2012 national title by beating Moolman-Pasio by almost a minute and a half. – The Star