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No Rio for Rhys

Saturday 16 July 2016

Cardiff's Rhys Williams has had his appeal against non-selection for the Olympic Games turned down by UK Athletics.

Automatic qualification required that an athlete come in the first two at the UK trials and have at least two qualifying times. A third place was available at the discretion of the selectors. Rhys came third at the trials and achieved his second qualifying time at the European Championships last week where he came fifth in the final and was the best British performer in his event, the 400m hurdles. He was omitted from the Olympic team and appealed. His appeal was supported by Welsh Athletics.

Rhys has a unique record of medal winning at the European Championships and is ranked number two in the UK, above one of the athletes who has been selected.

UK Athletics' philosophy on selection for major championships is hard to understand and, without taking away anything from the athletes who have been given discretionary places in the Olympic team, it is difficult to discern a consistency, which makes Rhys's omission all the harder to understand. It is particularly hard to defend a decision to inform Rhys a few days before the European Championships that the goal posts had been moved and, if he was to be considered for Rio, he would have to run even faster in Amsterdam. This is extremely unfair on any athlete and UK Athletics should re-consider its stance.

Rhys is entitled to think that he has been treated badly.