The British Olympic Association Olympic Qualification Standards (OQS) Panel has taken the decision to ratify the nomination brought forward by British Taekwondo of Lutalo Muhammad to represent Team GB in the Men’s Under-80 kg weight category at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The decision by the British Olympic Association OQS Panel to ratify the nomination was unanimous, and it was taken on the following basis:
In convening a Selection Committee for a third time in order to bring forward a nomination for the Men’s Under-80 kg weight category, British Taekwondo did in fact follow its approved selection procedures and did comply with the directives given to it by an earlier Appeal Panel and the OQS Panel.
The decision to ratify the nomination was taken following an extensive review of the selection process followed by British Taekwondo. The OQS Panel also consulted with the British Olympic Association Board of Directors and the World Taekwondo Federation.
The OQS Panel reserves the right to reconsider the nomination subject to the findings of the ongoing inquiry being led by the World Taekwondo Federation.
The OQS Panel is comprised of Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt; Deputy Chefs de Mission Clive Woodward and Mark England; and BOA Athletes’ Commission Chair Sarah Winckless.
In ratifying the nomination, the OQS Panel expressed strong disappointment in the manner by which the selection process has been managed by the National Governing Body; in particular, the undue strain and uncertainty that has been brought upon two world-class athletes. The OQS Panel also expressed concern over the lack of transparency in the selection process and the inconsistent communication with the two athletes involved.
With the encouragement of the BOA Board of Directors, the OQS Panel noted the importance of working with National Governing Bodies to implement selection policies for future Games that place a greater emphasis on objectivity and transparency.
“There are two world-class athletes directly impacted by this nomination, and our panel would have preferred to see the selection process managed in a manner that would have been of much greater service to both athletes,” said Hunt. “That said, after a thorough review, the panel is now sufficiently satisfied that the agreed selection procedures have been followed, and it is on that basis we are ratifying the nomination.
“With two exceptionally talented athletes in consideration for one place, there is no doubt this was a difficult decision for the British Taekwondo Selection Committee, which makes following the approved selection procedures all the more important.”
With respect to those sports utilising Host Nation Qualification Places for London 2012, the remit of the British Olympic Association OQS Panel is as follows:
To make certain the agreed performance standards have been met
To make certain there is a meaningful legacy plan in place for the sport
With respect to athlete selection, to make certain the agreed selection criteria and procedures have been followed, and that the selection process has been managed in a manner that would allow for a fair outcome
The OQS Panel can only accept or reject athlete nominations; it is not within the remit of the Panel to select individual athletes.