The British Olympic Association (BOA) today announced that Great Britain will have the opportunity to utilise the maximum three Host Nation Qualification Places available to compete in wrestling at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The three Host Nation Qualification Places can be utilised in any weight category and any gender across the two Olympic wrestling disciplines of freestyle and Greco-Roman. The number of Host Nation Qualification Places available to Team GB will be reduced by one for each British athlete that qualifies directly for London 2012 by meeting the Olympic qualification criteria. The maximum number of wrestlers that a National Olympic Committee can enter into the Olympic Games is 18.
The decision to permit British Wrestling, which is the National Governing Body for wrestling in Great Britain, to utilise the Host Nation Qualification Places was made by the Olympic Qualifying Standards Panel, which among others includes Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt; the Chair of the BOA Athletes Commission Sarah Winckless; and the BOA’s Director of Sport Sir Clive Woodward.
The decision was made following a comprehensive consultation with British Wrestling. The utilisation of the Host Nation Qualification Places is subject to the GB athletes meeting the National Governing Body’s Olympic selection criteria.
BOA Chief Executive and Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said:
“British Wrestling has really raised the bar in performance terms in recent years. Last year the Great Britain squad achieved their first European Championship medal for 21 years and their first Commonwealth Games gold medal for 24 years.
“While the short term focus is on a successful Olympic Games performance in London 2012, equally important is the long term development of successful British wrestlers on the world stage for Rio 2016 and beyond. Seeing wrestlers competing in London 2012 wearing the Team GB vest will no doubt help the sport’s ambition to achieve their legacy goals and get more young people involved in wrestling across the UK.”
BOA Director of Sport and Team GB Deputy Chef de Mission Clive Woodward said:
“British Wrestling is in the process of generating a real step-change in elite performance to world-class standard and we are pleased to support their ambitions by enabling the utilisation of Host Nation Qualification Places.
“Wrestling has a rich and proud heritage in the UK. The first time London hosted the Olympic Games in 1908 GB wrestlers won ten medals and the last Team GB medallist was Noel Loban who won a bronze at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
“As a sport which requires a combination of exceptional levels of fitness, strength and agility, I am sure that the platform of London 2012 will enable wrestling to inspire many more young athletes to give it a try and ultimately form the future generations of Team GB Olympic wrestlers.”
British Wrestling Performance Director Shaun Morley said:
“We are delighted with the faith shown in British wrestling. It fully endorses our year on year development as a sport, but also the consistent improvement of our elite wrestlers, some of who are now regularly among the medal contenders at international events.
"Our athletes, coaches and administrators have put in an enormous amount of hard work to lift British wrestling to where it now is, and I am greatly encouraged by our development.
“Now we are all really excited about competing at the London 2012 Olympics, but we are also looking further afield to Rio 2016 and beyond.”
British Wrestler Leon Rattigan said:
“Competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games is as good as it can ever get for a British athlete, and wrestlers are no exception in our desire to compete, and make an impact. I have seen the standards of the GB squad of which I am a proud member increase steadily since I first started competing with it.
"We have great coaches, a wonderful support staff, tremendous enthusiasm and a desire to showcase our sport to the country, and to do that by showing them that we have wrestlers on the GB squad who can hold their own with the very best.
“For me, taking part in an Olympic Games in my home country would be a dream come true. Every time I turn up for training, every time I attend a tournament, it is being a part of London 2012 that drives me on - and I am sure that feeling is shared among all the GB wrestlers, striving to be a part of it all next year."
Notes to editors:
The BOA has now confirmed that wrestling, fencing, synchronised swimming, beach volleyball, basketball, table tennis, judo, handball, indoor volleyball, water polo and weightlifting will be able to take up Home Nation Places at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Wrestling fans can apply for London 2012 tickets now onwww.tickets.london2012.com.
The Olympic Qualifying Standards Panel is currently working with the National Governing Bodies to finalise and approve the qualification standards and pathway to London 2012 for every sport. In many cases, sports will qualify for the Games through their performance in specific international events. For a select group of sports, however, the qualification process may involve the use of a Host Nation Qualification Place.
As the National Olympic Committee for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the BOA, among its many duties, is responsible for approving the eligibility and entry of all British athletes who compete as members of Team GB at the Olympic Games.
For the London 2012 Olympic Games, the BOA has stipulated that any sport seeking to utilise a Host Nation Qualification Place must first demonstrate the following:
1) The ability to deliver a credible performance during the London 2012 Games.
2) A long-term strategy to deliver a meaningful legacy as a result of the profile and visibility associated with competing in the Games, with a particular emphasis on increasing opportunities for participation by athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers at the grassroots level.
BOA: The British Olympic Association (BOA) is the National Olympic Committee for Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Its mission is to transform British lives through the power of the Olympic values and the success of Team GB. The BOA’s role is to prepare the ‘Best of British’ athletes for, and lead them at, the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. The BOA delivers extensive support services to Britain’s Olympic athletes and their National Governing Bodies to enhance Olympic success and is responsible for championing the Olympic values and brand in the UK.
The BOA receives no funding from the lottery or government, has no political interests and is completely dependent upon fundraising income to achieve its mission. The BOA is the strong, independent voice for British Olympic Sport. For further information, go to: www.olympics.org.uk
Team 2012, presented by Visa, is the official support programme for British athletes striving to be selected for Team GB and ParalympicsGB. Team 2012 is raising funds for vital support services assisting over 1,200 athletes across 47 Olympic and Paralympic sports and disciplines who are in training to be selected to represent Great Britain & Northern Ireland at the London 2012 Games.
For further info or interview requests please contact:
BOA Communications Officer Phil Wilkinson on Philip.Wilkinson@boa.org.uk 0207 8425721 or 07525951067 (for interviews with Andy Hunt)
British Wrestling, Peter Jones on email@example.com or 07841 997408 (for interviews with wrestling athletes and officials)