Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Wrestling rapped for not providing Olympic legacy

There is nothing greater for a British or Northern Irish sportsperson than to get a shot at representing their country at the Olympics games. So much so that our rugby players will have a shot at in the a Sevens event from Rio onwards and our golfers will also get a chance from 2020.

Most of our sporting bodies with representation at the London 2012 Games have been working hard to bring on that home grown talent in time for these Games and to look to the 2016 and beyond for the legacy that will be left behind. Swimming and Cycling are two prime examples of this approach.

The British Olympic Association (BOA) has come down hard on British Wrestling as a sport that seems to be doing little to leave an Olympic legacy in their sport.

British Wrestling had brought in the most 'plastic' Brits with five Ukrainian wrestlers marrying British Wrestlers in recent years, in a bit to gain that all important British passport. These ready made wrestlers from the Ukraine, Bulgaria and Russia have received funding to the tune of £3.5m in a bid to gain the three spots that BOA said they would leave open. Initially they were apparently brought in to spar with British hopefuls but soon turned into British Olympics hopefuls themselves.

There has been drug misuse by one of the Ukrainian's and Commonwealth gold medalist Myrsolav Dykun. There has been fighting within the team.

But worst of all they failed to meet the BOA qualifying criteria:

  • Top sixteen position at the 2011 FILA World Championships, or
  • Top eight position at the 2012 European Championships or the 2012 European Olympic Qualifying Tournament, or
  • Top six position at a 2012 International Olympic Qualification Tournament

So the three spots they had been given as host nation ended up being reduced to one.

Did that go to one of the British born wrestlers on the GB Elite Squad Philip Roberts from Bolton or Leon Rattigan from Bristol (who sadly finished 12th and 11th respectively in the Europeans)?

Err no.

The only place has gone to Olga Butkevych from sunny Kiev, she is still waiting for her British Passport to arrive.

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