Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Catriona Cuddihy re-instated in Irish 4x400m Olympic team

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Catriona Cuddihy re-instated in Irish 4x400m Olympic team

It now looks as if Catriona Cuddihy will finally be part of the womens 4 x 400m relay team competing at London 2012. The Kilkenny City Harriers athlete has successfully appealed a decision to drop her from the team that she was originally selected on. An Olympic Council of Ireland Appeals Tribunal held last Thursday confirmed  its decision last night (Monday 23rd) to re-instate Catriona.

The selection process for the team hasn't exactly shone a positive light on Athletics Ireland itself. Back at the start of July, the Irish team 4x400m qualified for the Olympics as they were ranked 13th in the world and the top 16 go to the Games. The team named by Athletics Ireland was...
Joanne Cuddihy (KCH AC), Michelle Carey (Dublin Striders AC), Claire Bergin (DSD AC), Marian Heffernan (Togher AC), Jessie Barr (Ferrybank AC), Catriona Cuddihy (KCH AC)

Then Joanna Mills appealed the decision that she was excluded. Athletics Ireland then dropped Catriona Cuddihy and included Joanna Mills and forwarded the new team to the Olympic Council of Ireland. Catriona then appealed that decision to the OCI.

In a word, Athletics Ireland made a shambles of the whole process and both athletes have been treated badly. It's really horrible for someone to be told that they are going to the Olympics and then told they're not.

Update...Tues 24th 9:30am......The OCI have just made the following announcement.....(Basically, Catriona was picked because of her greater experience even though Joanna has run faster times)
The appeal to the Olympic Council of Ireland’s Appeal Tribunal by Catriona Cuddihy against the decision of an Athletics Ireland Appeal Panel (AIAP) to de-select her from the Women’s 4 x 400m relay team for the Olympic Games has been successful.

The OCI’s Appeal Tribunal held an in person hearing on Thursday night last, July 19 in Dublin city centre and heard submission from legal representatives of Ms Cuddihy, Athletics Ireland and Joanna Mills.
Ms Mills prior appeal to Athletics Ireland against her non-selection for the relay team had been upheld and it was this against this decision which Ms Cuddihy appealed.
The Appeal Tribunal found that process for the original selection by the AI High Performance Relay Selectors had been carried out in a fair and proportionate manner. The AIAP in reaching its decision differed with the interpretation of the Selectors in the application of two of the eight selection criteria for the Women’s relay team on the grounds that their application had been too narrowly applied.
The Tribunal in reviewing the selection criteria and the AIAP decision found that it did not agree with the AIAP conclusions.
The Tribunal found that the Selectors did follow and apply the selection policy outlined in the Relay Programme and did so with diligence and acumen.
This Tribunal finds that the AIAP did not properly construe Selection Factor No.1 [overall relay experience] and by imposing the interpretation it did, the AIAP itself applied a narrow interpretation which was not contemplated under the Selection Factors.
The Tribunal further finds in relation to Selection Factor No.2 [overall experience in major championships (individual and relay)] while a broader interpretation could have been applied to the scope of this criteria, namely to include pre-2011 major championship experience including at junior level, that the additional weighting accorded by the AIAP to the experience of Ms Mills in this regard was disproportionate when the totality of the components within Selection Factor No.2 and the weighting accorded to the other athletes based upon their major championship experience and contribution to the relay team were considered.
Based on these findings the Tribunal upheld the appeal of Catriona Cuddihy, and her original nomination to the OCI as an athlete on the Women’s 4 x 400m relay is reinstated.
Nothing in the decision prevents recourse by the parties to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Full document HERE

Update...11am.......Athletics Ireland released the following statement...
Athletics Ireland notes the decision of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) to select Catriona Cuddihy for the Irish Women’s 4×400m relay squad to compete at the London Olympic Games. Athletics Ireland respects the OCI’s decision which concludes the selection process.

The experience has been a significant learning for the Association. In that regard the selection and appeals process to date will form part of an overall review of the preparation for London and the performance of Irish athletes there. Inputs from all involved will be sought when doing so.

Athletics Ireland CEO John Foley said: “We also have to acknowledge that the past three weeks has been enormously difficult for the athletes involved in this appeal process, their families, supporters and friends. At this point however there is a final decision as to selection and we believe that it is now in the interests of all, that we focus our attention on the Games themselves. We wish all of the athletes the best of luck in their efforts in London.” 

Update.....3:45pm........Response from Joanna Mills......
“I think the initial disappointment of now getting selected and then being told that you are going and then being told you’re not going has been draining. But it’s definitely something that has made me stronger and it’s something I have to see how everything pans out."
“I suppose its just the way the decision has been made. I would rather be running faster and not be going than be running faster just to get a place to go. It’s made me more determined I think defintely. I’m only 19 so realistically I’m aiming for 2016 and beyond so I cant let it stop me in my tracks. I’m going to keep my head down and it’s only made me more hungry to compete at an Olympic Games and hopefully next time it will be a lot more of a clear-cut decision. ”

Update.....Wed 25th...2pm....
BBC interview with Joanna Mills HERE
The latest news is that Joanna will not appeal the decision 

Jerry Kiernan comments on it on Newstalk....

Catriona Cuddihy comments on it to Newstalk...



Anonymous said...

What a saga! Like either girl needs this before the Olympics!

Anonymous said...

I am delighted for Cuddihy.The fact that she was picked 1st and modeled the gear it is only right that she is reinstated after a complete lack of incompetence shown by our athletics organization. They should have never changed their 1st team that they picked.If they had picked Mills 1st then Catriona would have had no reason to object.The AAi have just made themselves look really stupid and amateurish.

vinnie said...

@ comment 2 Cuddihy should never have been picked in the 1st place .To select a consistently slower athlete cannot be justified.Mills was the faster athlete and has shown better form on a number of occasions this year.

Anonymous said...

Catriona is the more experianced athlete and more than deserves to go. it may have been a shambles, but the correct and strongest team will travel and hopefully have a great run.

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for both girls. A total and utter shambles at such a late stage. Both girls have no doubt sweated blood and tears for this and both were right to fight for their place, whatever form that took. Ultimately though the fighting should be on the track and not in a room full of suits.
My sympathies to Mills but best of luck to Cuddihy and the rest of the relay team.

john said...

Mills has plenty of experience ... placing at last year's European Juniors but also her participation in both the Irish European Youth relay team and the Northern Commonwealth Games team in 2010 also spent nearly a week in Helsinki taking part in relay practice Bottom line is that Mills has a faster time than Cuddihy, she should be in the team

Anonymous said...

Politics was involved there. no doubt. the faster should get in as simple as that. how it effects team morale - god only knows.

Brian said...

It is difficult not to be totally cynical about this. They picked Cuddihy in the end based on her experience at major championships and not her time.

Just one question, how does that make Maria McCambridge feel??

It is clear the selection process is a nonsense if this is how the rules are applied differently to suit the AAI.

Anonymous said...

Well said Brian!

Anonymous said...

I think its a bit selfish of Cuddihy going knowing that she is the slower of the two,although the chances of going to Olympics are few and far between.Getting an injury at any time,you might only get one shot.Mills at 19,time is on her side.

John Desmond said...

It might be worth pointing out that the relay event is more than just running fast. There is also the question of how well the baton is handed over and how well the team work together. The debate about who should go might have no conclusive answer but the whole affair should have been handled a lot better by Athletics Ireland.

Anonymous said...

When you open up the selection process to factors such as 'experience' then you are always going to generate controversy.
In my opinion, the fastest should always be selected. That way, there is no argument and nobody can feel hard done by. Each athlete knows exactly what they have to do.
I think it's very unfair on an athlete (Mills in this case) to make the qualifying time but then lose out because of politics.