Published November 20, 2014
For every British athlete selected for his or her home London Olympics, there are others who have had the door closed on them and are not taking it lying down.
Protests, appeals and threats of legal action have accompanied the increasingly frequent announcements by the British Olympic Association (BOA) of the latest men and women welcomed to Team GB.
Recent squad announcements for taekwondo, triathlon, diving, fencing and rhythmic gymnastics have all been in the headlines as much for those who missed out but are desperate to be included as for those who made it.
"There's a lot of athletes not being selected right now and we need to be sympathetic to the incredible journey they have been on and what they have tried to do to make selection," BOA chief executive Andy Hunt told reporters on Tuesday .
Many of the problems arise from the awarding of 'Host Nation' places, which allow those Britons who have not achieved Olympic qualifying standards to take part at the discretion of the national association.
The selection policies and criteria for them can be controversial.
"You do get perhaps more subjective judgments needing to be made as to who will either deliver the most credible performance or has the most potential for 2016. So that is part of it," said Hunt.
"There is just a massive interest in competing with the home team at a home Games. And thirdly there are more sponsors, more agents, more interested parties supporting athletes, fighting to the last moment to get an individual on the team."
The presentation on Tuesday of the 10 British fencers to compete at the Games starting on July 27 came as one of those overlooked submitted an appeal against British Fencing's selection procedures.
Keith Cook, the 2010 British champion and an ambassador for sponsors Samsung along with former England soccer captain David Beckham and showjumper Zara Phillips, said he was 'totally baffled' by his omission.
Fencing had already seen off four appeals by others against apparently subjective choices and has strongly denied any bias.
At the weekend, Liz Blatchford said she was considering legal action after British Triathlon chose a lower-ranked rival as a 'domestique' to help world champion Helen Jenkins win a medal.
"Our highest ranked athletes...have proven time in time out that they do not need any help to win, so I really feel that giving Olympic spots to domestiques is a complete and utter waste and truly unfair to those athletes like myself who have given everything to be the best triathletes they can be," she said on her website (www.lizblatchford.com).
World taekwondo number one and European champion Aaron Cook said on Friday he was seeking legal advice after lower-ranked rival Lutalo Muhammad was preferred to him, a decision that the BOA initially refused to accept but has now.
Hunt said the BOA would seek in future to ensure subjectivity was removed as far as possible from the process with criteria "much more clearly set out and perhaps ranked so individuals can understand how these judgments have been made.
"There were a few appeals in fencing...we have reviewed all the documentation, we are completely comfortable," he added.
"They followed due process in their selection, none of the appeals were upheld and therefore there was no requirement for re-selection.
"An athlete might try and take some form of legal action but in every case an athlete signs up to the selection policy. That is usually a binding process which has an appeal mechanism within it," he added.
Hunt said he fully supported the triathlon selection.
"They (the athletes) knew on this journey they were going in to either be selected because they had a podium (to aim for) or they were supporting the other athletes getting there. They all signed up for it," he said.
"They might now say I'd have wished for a different approach but that's too late."
(Editing by Clare Fallon)