Britain’s rhythmic gymnastics team to take part in Olympics after appeal victory

One of the highlights for those booking rooms in central London hotels in order to be in the capital for the 2012 Olympics will undoubtedly be the chance to see top home-grown talent compete on the biggest sporting stage.

Many will therefore be pleased to hear that it has now been confirmed that Great Britain's rhythmic gymnastics team have earned the right to compete at the 2012 Games after winning an appeal against their own governing body.

British Gymnastics had previously ruled that the team had failed to meet an agreed qualifying standard at a recent test event.

But this decision has now been overturned after the athletes appealed to the independent arbitrator Sports Resolutions UK.

British Gymnastics had set a benchmark score of 45.223 points intended to be met by the gymnasts in the qualifying stage of the test event, the Press Association reports.

However, the athletes, who fell short of this score by 0.273 points in the qualifying, believed they had another chance to meet the target in the final stage of the event.

They duly went out and scored 47.200, only to then be told it had come too late to earn them a place at the Olympics.

This confusion, as well as the fact that the team were competing against a pre-set benchmark rather than against other nations were two major factors in the decision being overturned, explained sports arbitrator Graeme Mews.

"I am not persuaded that the appellants and their coaches must have known that selection would be based only on the qualification stage because only that stage would replicate the pressures of Olympic qualification competition. The Olympic qualification of other teams participating was dependent only on the first two days of competition," he said.

"The GB group, however, was in a different position. They were not competing with the other teams for a place. Rather, they were competing against the benchmark."

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