19 February, 2011

2012 Olympics: Irish running legend condemns 'A' grade ruling:

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FINEST HOUR: Coghlan wins 1983 World Championship Gold (5,000m)
Eamonn Coghlan has condemned the Olympic Council of Ireland's (OCI) decision to insist on 'A' standard only for next year's London Olympics; describing it as "an injustice."
The three-time Olympian and inaugural (1983) World Championship Gold medalist believes the OCI should accept the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) standards and says the proximity of London 2012 only increases the reasons for Ireland to send athletes who have obtained only a 'B' standard.
"If the IAAF and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are accepting 'B' standards and we in Ireland are saying 'A standards only,' well I don't agree with that," says Coghlan.
"There was a U-turn done (to accept the 'B' standard) before Beijing for one or two individuals but not for one or two others. That was a political decision I think, that came down to two individuals, one in the Olympic Council and the other in government." 
He added: "There are very few in Ireland who are ever going to win an Olympic gold medal,
PAT HICKEY:  President of the Olympic Council of Ireland
so why only pick athletes who have that potential? If an athlete has achieved the best 'B' standard in Ireland, then they should go. The cost of sending athletes to London, compared with Beijing, is relatively little and we want to inspire, encourage and motivate the kids coming through the sport, not turn them off."
That the Sports Council's own standards have toughened was underlined by yesterday's
London is preparing for the World to descend to upon it
individual grant announcements, which saw several prominent athletes dropped or relegated because they did not meet pre-agreed targets last year.
Róisín McGettigan, Alistair Cragg, Martin Fagan, Joanne Cuddihy, Mark Kenneally and Eileen O'Keefe have all been dropped off the scheme, while Mary Cullen's funding has been dropped from €20,000 to €12,000.
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