Sarah Moon: Olympic ruling is dream come true
March 6, 2012 08:58 am
Sarah Moon is set to fulfil a dream 24 years in the making by taking the Great Britain rhythmic gymnastics team to the Olympics.
The hopes of the squad looked to have been dashed at the Games test event in January when British Gymnastics ruled they had not met an agreed qualifying standard but the team appealed and independent arbitrator Sports Resolutions UK overturned the decision on Monday.
Providing they meet performance targets in the build-up to the Games, the team will become the first to represent Britain at the Olympics.
Coach Moon told Press Association Sport: "I remember watching the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and being glued to it. I just thought 'I want to be going there'. Unfortunately as a gymnast I didn't get the kind of backing these girls have got so I started coaching. For us it's not about winning medals, it's about going and showcasing the sport and being an inspiration to women and girls in sport."
The dispute surrounded the opportunity for the British team to achieve a benchmark score of 45.223 at North Greenwich Arena. British Gymnastics insisted they had made it clear the target had to be reached during the qualifying stage of the event, in order to replicate the stresses and pressure of Olympic competition.
The British team fell short by 0.273 points after errors with the hoop and a knot in a ribbon caused problems in their second routine, but they believed they had another chance on the final day.
Despite British Gymnastics having already ruled they had missed their opportunity, the team went out and scored 47.200 and appealed the decision on the basis they believed they had met the target laid down for them.
The British team were only competing against a set standard rather than against other nations, and sports arbitrator Graeme Mew, in explaining his decision, felt this and the confusion in the wording of the policy were the key factors.
He said: "I am not persuaded that the appellants and their coaches must have known that selection would be based only on the qualification stage because only that stage would replicate the pressures of Olympic qualification competition."
British Gymnastics denied they had misinformed the gymnasts but accepted the appeal judgment and the British Olympic Association will now inform gymnastics' world governing body, the FIG, that Britain will be taking up the host nation place.
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