Kane Radford Wins Tribunal Appeal To Race In Rio Marathon For New Zealand

Kane Radford on Lake Taupo - Photo: Simon Watts/www.bwmedia.co.nz

Kane Radford has won his appeal to race in the marathon at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Swimming New Zealand confirmed today shortly before confirmation of his selection to the Kiwi Rio 2016 squad by the New Zealand Olympic Committe

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Kane Radford has won his appeal to race in the marathon at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Swimming New Zealand confirmed today shortly before confirmation of his selection to the Kiwi Rio 2016 squad by the New Zealand Olympic Committe



Great news for an athlete who so deserved a Rio selection.



Interesting that the Tribunal effectively widened the scope of “results and performances” to be used for consideration and not just, presumably in their minds, to the Olympic qualifier which was the only event stated as the nomination event. You would have thought the Selectors under the very subjective criteria would have already considered “[all] information that they … had available”.

Which begs the question, the incident of Kane being impeded by another swimmer who was subsequently disqualified, did John West, a SNZ Selector and a FINA referee on the water in Portugal, NOT KNOW this? Forget about the fact that John West should not have been wearing two hats in the first place, surely he knew of this incident?


Christian Renford really is a piece of work. Just had to have parting shots:

“Our selection criteria and process is open and transparent, and allows our swimmers the opportunity to appeal” – Did he mention that according to the SNZ/NZOC Agreement in the section about Nomination Appeals, that you are given 48 hours to lodge an appeal. SNZ took 5 days after the race to announce that they were not going to nominate Kane and announced it on a Friday night. So in 48 hours over a weekend Kane would have had to find and brief a lawyer to take his case, request an urgent initial meeting with SNZ and ultimately request a Sports Tribunal, all at his expense.

“We will continue to support Kane through to Rio after investing significantly in his open water ambitions over the last three years since London” – Oh, that’s right, you didn’t let him go to London! He is self-funded, pays for all his expenses getting to the qualifying meets, paid to have his Australian coach with him and apparently had to wear old NZ kit because he wasn’t given any uniform, his Aussie coach having to wear an All Blacks shirt just to show that he was part of the NZ contingent. Any suggestion that they have contributed to Kane’s success is insulting. He trains in Perth BECAUSE of the lack of support. SNZ pours millions into a High Performance Centre that NONE of their top swimmers use – they all train outside of NZ. Here’s a suggestion Mr Renford – how about closing down your HPC and using that funding to genuinely invest in all NZ elite swimmers training overseas and part-fund that next layer of talented swimmers who may be considering a move outside NZ to good programmes but dismiss the notion because of cost.

Oh and one more thing Mr Renford. Stop belly-aching to Swimming Australia because one of their swimmers (Jarrod Poort) did what good mates do, and poured out his heart on a FB post that went viral amongst thousands in the swimming community, helping to stoke absolute outrage in NZ and abroad in news and social media, triggering a petition and GoFundMe page.


To paraphrase from a favorite book, the whole appeals process was perfectly transparent. You just had to find a flashlight, go downstairs, and find it in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.’


Well, the end result is the right one ….. just don’t ask too many questions on how they got there is what strikes me.

The reasoning of “The Tribunal” frankly reads a bit “airy” to me but then again, what do we know of what may have transpired behind closed doors.

Did SNZ seek their own legal advice with regards to their selection procedure and (supposing it were negative) decided to “roll over”. But rather than make it public, did they informally approach the Tribunal to say “we’re not contesting the Radford case, just give us some ‘windowdressing’ so we don’t look too bad” ?

Purely conjecture of course, but have seen more than a few such situations play out in this fashion.


“However we continue to fully support our selectors and respect the fact that they have always acted with upmost integrity and in the light of information that they have had available.”

I may not fully understand NZ open water and pool swimming selection process, but from what I have read from copious amount of articles and comments written in Swimvortext makes me go:

maryann Corrigan

ht2k, well said… I too was under whelmed by the gracious in defeat stance by Christian Renford and SNZ. Nothing new here, its mind boggling that one organisation can continue to lurch from one PR disaster to another and never learn the error of their ways. Now it is time to support Kane and have confidence that in RIO he will continue to make us proud for his dedication and commitment. Tis a good day.

Craig Lord

Good points, h2tk.

Craig Lord

🙂 beachmouse, that’s an uncomfortably accurate definition of ‘transparency’ issues in world sports governance as a whole.

Felix Sanchez

Nice one beachmouse. What’s the book?

Lucy Slade

Water Polo Australia have appointed Christian Renford to replace outgoing CEO, Chris Harrison. Heaven help Water Polo Australia.


OMG. The full decision is hilarious reading and SNZ are made to look like a bunch of clowns. I would suggest that the two Selectors, John West and Mark Saunders are in a whole heap of trouble and it would be unbelievable if they weren’t replaced after Rio.

One of the two Tribunal members at this hearing was Georgina Earl (nee Evers-Swindell) – double Olympic Gold medalist in rowing. Good on you Mrs Earl.


So Mr Renford, if you are going to “support Kane through to Rio” as you suggest, how about paying for all his legal expenses in hearing this case. He had to have a his own counsel as well as a QC (who would not have been cheap), and his Mum travelling from out of town to represent him. While SNZ brings out the cavalary (the CEO, two Selectors, their counsel and QC, member of the NZOC) – he and his Mum have PAID their membership fees and dues for him to compete for years, therefore you have used his money to fight against him.

SNZ paying Kane’s expense claims? Yeah right.

Craig Lord

Thanks h2tk – added link to the file.

Craig Lord

Good point, ht2k – I would hope that was obvious to the federation and they make good on it…

Dave C

quote from media release from Water Polo Australia where Renford will soon be CEO:

“Renford will return home to Australia after serving as CEO of New Zealand Swimming since 2013 where he has overseen a strong period of international success”
Which is probably why Swimming New Zealand lost a sponsor, a head coach was sacked due to poor international performance, it lost a performance director, 100k a year in funding, all its top swimmers left New Zealand for a proper swimming environment, and SNZ had one PR disaster after another – to this very day.


The only thing that NZL is still mentioned in pool swimming is Lauren Boyle.
And she trained for 4 years in CAL and now is training with Denis Cottrell in Australia.


Felix- it’s drawn from ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, which starts out with a standoff between Our Hero and British municipal bureaucracy at it’s ‘finest’.

Craig Lord

🙂 Beachmouse. “The computers were index linked to the Galactic stock market prices you see, so that we’d all be revived when everybody else had rebuilt the economy enough to afford our rather expensive services.” Arthur, a regular Guardian reader, was deeply shocked at this. “That’s a pretty unpleasant way to behave isn’t it?” Borrowed from the Book of Brexit, perhaps 🙂



It’s just a comedy show isn’t it? Clearly John West, Mark Saunders and Christian Renford fancied their chances because it was clear that they went into the Tribunal guns blazing trying to defend the indefensible and got royally dumped on their behinds.

And then issue a public statement continuing to cover the very ass that got such a whooping by effectively saying in essence, “well Kane’s got his opinion and we’ve got ours”.a

Felix Sanchez

Thanks beachmouse. Regularly annoyed that I never got around to reading it.

Craig, we surely can’t hope to stand up to self-serving bureaucracy in sports governance while accepting a far more insidious version in the wider world – particularly one that doesn’t even bother to pretend at transparency.


Craig, SNZ will not make good on this case and pay costs. A Sports Tribunal does not have the power to award costs, so costs would “lie where they fall”, in legal speak. Therefore, I could virtually guarantee SNZ have absolutely no intention of paying Kane anything. To you and I it would seem a no-brainer and a gesture of good faith on the part of the national federation to cover his costs, but we are talking of an institutionally inept organisation lacking any moral authority.

Re-reading this decision it is clear that it is absolutely damning. The selectors were tripped up on their own evidence. I would love to have seen what the other evidence was from Kane’s lawyers, but it was acknowledged by the panel that in the interests of the critically short time-frame they were not able to include everything from the hearing in the written decision. I would also have loved to have seen the video evidence that was presented which completely contradicted John West’s testimony of where Kane was in the pack. And reading between the lines, Mark Saunders was clearly selective about what data he was giving weight to, so was not ever going to select him. These two selectors have got to go!

To bring a case like this with a lawyer/counsel and a QC would have been in the region of $10,000, at least. This is a massive amount of money which the family should not have had to incur, on top of everything else, and I could imagine that taking care of these costs would preclude any thoughts of getting to Rio for his Mum. But some good people have set up a funding page to help with his legal fees:


I hope some of your readers might have a look.

Craig Lord

Thanks h2tk. I will ask the question …

Barnabas Mandi

Basicly I don’t see this open-water qualifying system. Horror. Or the system for relays. E.g. if Qatar would buy 20, not so expensive swimmers (less than a football team and not so much more than a handball team) they will be at every Worlds or OGs. It’s ridiculous.
About SNZ/NZOC (but not exclusively about them) when there is only a final for 25 girls and 25 boys (the heats and semis had been already swum, done, finished) what the hell is written about transparency. We don’t like your face? The qualifying system is absolutely wrong. And not only in swimming. When e.g. not a specific person, but a nation, a continent gets a place in a sport, in that case the money, the politics, the subjectivism, etc. counts only.

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