If New Zealand Keep Webby Away, Rio List Of Dope-Ban Comebacks May Get Longer

Kane Radford (NZL) - Photo: BW Photography
Kane Radford (NZL) - Photo: BW Photography

The decision of New Zealand to hand back an Olympic ticket earned by Charlotte Webby under the international qualification criteria for marathon swimmers may add another swimmer with a doping record to a growing list ofthose back from bans and now heading to the Rio 2016 Games

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aswimfan

So there is no one else to represent Oceania? Why should a Portuguese represent Oceania?

Last time I saw there was an Australian who is not only an Oceanic, but also finished 7th in Setubal.

FINA open water Olympics selection criteria is getting more and more bizzarro.

Craig Lord

It hangs on this clause, asf: “If the athlete’s participation is not confirmed by the NOC by the confirmation of places deadline or is declined by the NOC, the place will be reallocated to the next best ranked athlete from the FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier 2016, not yet qualified.”

15th HORNER Stephanie (CQ) CAN
16th NEVES Vania POR (first in line among those not already qualified on the day, after 2nds from other nations are removed because they didn’t meet the criteria as laid down, even though they were faster, like Kareena Lee, Australia, 7th on the day)

commonwombat

My initial reaction to this entire episode was that of scepticism; not on the grounds that Radford & Webby had reasons for greivance but as to whether they actually had a pursuable case for appeal. Moral indignation is fine …. but that in itself is not going to get either of them on the plane !

However, as Keynes remarked “When my information changes, I alter my conclusions” and I will happily state that I WAS wrong and they certainly have some sound grounds.

Firstly, NZ Swimming’s nomination document is unspecific as to the LEVEL of performance required at the recent final qualification meet. Was this deliberate as some have intimated ? Whilst you may suspect it, good luck proving it !

The second part of the picture is actually the COMPLETE statement released by NZ Swimming regarding the non-selections.

Various sites, including this one, have quoted the final two stanzas but it is actually the earlier part of this statement that provides the vital context ….. and arguably provides NZ Swimming’s undoing.

“Ten places for the Rio 10km Open Water event were selected at last year’s world championships with a further 10 direct places decided at the FINA 10km Marathon Swimming Qualifier in Portugal last weekend.

New Zealanders Kane Radford, Phillip Ryan and Charlotte Webby finished 19th, 34th and 31st respectively to miss out on direct qualification.

FINA, the world’s ruling body, offer one additional quota place for the leading swimmer from each of the five global regions – the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania – representing nations not already qualified.

With Australia qualified, New Zealand was the next highest nation from Oceania competing in Portugal, with Radford and Webby therefore earning an invitation spot for New Zealand.”

From the above, we can draw a very clear IMPLICATION that NZ Swimming did, indeed, differentiate between “direct qualification” and “invitation via continental representation”. However, their official nomination protocol made NO such specification or differentiation.

Had it done so, there would be no argument as to where Radford & Webby stand but this does indeed give Radford at least strong grounds for appeal and potential overturning of NZ’s decision.

The potential conflict of interest of Mr West (as NZ selector & FINA race jury for the Portugal meet) is interesting but I’m not sure whether its has any particular bearing on this matter. Unless there were any matters of protest with regards to the race results, the qualification positions and consequent continental invitations are not subject to any input from he or any other jury members.

The question of whether Radford (or Webby) met the performance threshold is a far more vexed one and whether the appeals tribunal will rule on this or whether SNZ may back down on this (on the grounds that FINA has granted invitational positions to both) is open to speculation.

Whether said appeal can/will be heard before places are fully finalised is the issue.

Craig Lord

Quite CW, as my questions pointed to: NZL’s position is weak at their own hand.

h2tk

Very interesting commonwombat. All in all you are right that the qualification criteria document was shoddy and certainly grounds on that point alone, IMO.

But I had raised the issue in an earlier post of one of the NZ selectors, John West, who was actually on one of the boats as a FINA officiator. I remember watching the race, noticed that he was on a boat (an unmistakable profile – anyone who knows John West will know what I mean) in a FINA white shirt, blowing a whistle and waving a flag at one point, and had assumed that he must have resigned his place as a Selector. My assumptions, naively as it turns out, were that surely the conflicts of interest would be an obvious no-brainer – basic Governance 101.

However, turns out that not only was John West officiating in Portugal on a FINA boat, but was also there in his capacity as a NZ Selector! Also it turns out that there are only two Selectors (the third had resigned his position a while back), and the second Selector was NOT there in Portugal watching the race.

This is the issue with Mr West – how can you possibly do a comprehensive job as a Selector charged with making subjective judgments about an INDIVIDUAL swimmer’s “performance” and their competitiveness, over the “ebb and flow” of nearly 2 hours, when you are an official discharged with the responsibility of being completely neutral – by its very nature you are not concentrating on one individual but the whole pack. And particularly, as it turns out, you are the only Selector actually there.

Yet another pathetic incident of poor judgement on the part of SNZ. Did no one in SNZ consider that the duties and responsibilities of the two roles were completely incompatible? The fact that Mr West was clearly performing an officiating role in Portugal, he could not also perform the role of a Selector (and as a sole Selector as it turns out) with any probity.

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