Weightlifter Greg Shushu has had an urgent High Court appeal turned down in a last-ditch effort to be included in South Africa's team for the London Games, according to the country's Olympic governing body.
“Team South Africa for the Olympic Games in London later this month remains unaltered after an unsuccessful attempt by Gauteng weightlifter Greg Shushu to be included in the team,” the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) said in a statement on Saturday night.
The South Gauteng High Court, according to Sascoc, said the Olympic body had acted within its mandated authority regarding selection policy criteria.
Sascoc said it had received legal papers from Shushu's lawyers on Thursday, and an urgent court appeal was sought, with the support of the Gauteng provincial weightlifting body.
While Shushu assisted the national team in opening up a place for South Africa in the weightlifting competition at the London Games, by winning two gold medals at this year's African Weightlifting Championships, Sascoc said it had stuck to its criteria.
The Olympic body did not feel Shushu was a medal prospect for the London Olympics at 31, nor was he a prospect for the 2016 Games in Rio.
Instead, 22-year-old Jean Greeff, a medallist at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games, was selected. Sascoc said Greeff met the criteria.
“There is nothing sinister about this matter,” said Sascoc CEO Tubby Reddy.
“The Olympic selection policy has been on our website for over a year.
“The continental qualification was a 'slot' qualification and there were four athletes eligible for this slot.
“Continental qualification is by no means an automatic guarantee of selection in all sporting codes.
“The South African Weightlifting Federation knew that Greg would not have been eligible when they submitted his name, as the policy clearly stated that should continental qualification be considered, the athlete must be 2016 potential.
“As the national federation they are responsible for keeping their athletes informed about selection policies at all times.”
Reddy said he was “grieved” that Shushu was now liable for all costs of the legal battle.
“Athletes, coaches and members of provincial and national federations should at all times be aware of selection criteria,” Reddy said. – Sapa