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Mon Apr 21 16:56:28 SAST 2014

Local cyclist may approach court

Sapa | 23 June, 2012 08:090 Comments
Cherise Stander winner of the Woman's race during the Cape Argus Pick n' Pay Cycle Tour on March 13, 2011 in Cape Town
Image by: Peter Heeger / Gallo Images

Time-trial cycling ace Cherise Taylor may take Cycling SA (CSA) to court after she was omitted from the women’s road cycling team for next month’s London Olympic Games.

Her attorney, Peter Assenmacher, claimed on Friday that CSA had deviated from communicated selection criteria.

“This may compel my client to approach the High Court on an urgent basis.”  The multiple South African champion and Beijing Olympian was excluded from the original three-rider women’s road cycling team selected by CSA.

CSA vice-president Mike Bradley on Friday said he could not comment on the merits of the case, as an appeal hearing would take place in Johannesburg on Monday.

Bradley, however, said it was an unfortunate turn of events a little over a month before the start of the global showpiece.

“It is not a good thing to go through; no matter who you select, someone would be a aggrieved,” Bradley said.

The riders selected were Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, ranked 23rd in the world, Joanna van de Winkel (138th) and Robyn de Groot (323rd).

Taylor was ranked 98th in the world.

She maintained her compliance with the criteria, via merit exceeding that of two of the selected riders.

While the selection criteria were not based purely on the UCI rankings, Assenmacher said she satisfied all the other standards set for qualification.

“Comparable to two of the selected team members, Van de Winkel and De Groot, Taylor was clearly the highest achiever within the parameters of the communicated CSA Olympic selection performance criteria,” Assenmacher said.

“(It) clearly states that the highest compliance with the performance criteria will be considered for selection, but [she] has now been excluded twice. Both times, no reasons have been given.”  Assenmacher said despite numerous letters from him to CSA, and undertakings by CSA to respond in writing, CSA demonstrated a reluctance to put pen to paper and communicated mostly telephonically.

“It took more than a week to receive purported reasons from CSA for my client’s non-selection, despite Mr Bradley’s undertaking in this regard since June 11,” said Assenmacher.

Assenmacher said Bradley told him after a CSA special meeting on June 13 that reasons had been established to refer the matter to the CSA selection committee for re-selection of the team. The team, however, remained unchanged after re-selection.

“With CSA now deviating from the clearly communicated selection criteria for a second time, we are to comply with internal processes first and proceed with a formal appeal hearing within CSA,” he said.

“Given the conduct of CSA to date, the outcome of such process is arguably predictable.

“This may compel my client to approach the High Court on an urgent basis to review an unacceptable outcome.”  With the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee’s (Sascoc) looming July 4 deadline to submit the final names to the International Olympic Committee, Assenmacher called for a speedy resolution to the matter.

Sascoc president Gideon Sam on Friday said it was the responsibility of the federations to submit names to the Olympic body for team selections.

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