Fencing: 2012 policy is a joke – Cook

EDINBURGH Olympic hopeful Keith Cook has slammed British Fencing’s selection policy has a ‘joke’ as he appealed against his exclusion from the games.

Cook, however, is unlikely to win and looks set to miss out on the final three places which are named today.

British Fencing maintain it is time to put selection rows behind them but Cook claims the governing body had failed to follow their written Olympic selection policy and procedures.

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British Fencing communication director David King said: “We have made what we think are the best decisions, both for 2012 and 2016. We have a good squad and it is time for everyone to get behind them and let’s go forward.”

Cook – the 2010 British champion and five-time Commonwealth Games medallist – has missed out.

The 31-year-old, who opted out of British Fencing’s ‘Olympic Pathway’ two years ago for family reasons, was told that because performance manager Alex Newton had not been given contact details, as set out in Section 13 of the selection policy document, he was not informed that he had not been selected and the deadline for any appeal was passed.

Chief executive Piers Martin explained in an email to Cook that British Fencing “did not consider that you wanted to be considered for selection”.

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Cook, ranked 95 in the world and still in the British top six having battled against recent injury, said: “I emailed the performance manager and asked to be let known what was going on because I had not received any information,” Cook said.

“I got one back saying it was to do with not giving your email address and phone number – and I said ‘you must be joking’.

“I have had constant emails, text messages and phone calls from the performance manager, I was part of the team who have been there for six years. They have got my phone number.

“I said ‘no way are you going to do it on a technicality like that’. Basically they have broken their own process.

“I can’t argue about who they have picked because it is discretionary places, but they did not give me a chance and did not follow the process of Olympic selection.”

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