A group of University of Bath-based rhythmic gymnasts are celebrating taking a big step closer to competing at the London 2012 Olympics after their appeal was upheld by an independent appeal panel today.
A Sport Resolutions’ arbitrator agreed that the group did achieve the Olympic qualifying standard when they competed at the test event in January.
British Gymnastics, the sport’s national governing body, will now nominate group to the British Olympic Association, who are expected to take-up the London 2012 host nation place.
The seven-strong group heard they had won the appeal this morning, following a hearing in London on Wednesday.
“It’s fantastic news, we’re all so excited,” said head coach Sarah Moon. “This confirms what we knew all along – that we achieved the qualifying standard at the test event.
“We’ve got a lot of preparation competitions to attend now, so we’ll be working hard on those now and getting on with the job in hand.”
Rachel Smith, one of the members of the group, said: “We’ll continue working on improving our performances through to the Olympic Games. We’re stronger now as a team both on the carpet and mentally.
“We’ve made incredible progress as a group over the last seven months and we’re really excited that we’ve taken a big step closer to 2012.
“It’s particularly impressive that we’ve done this without National Lottery support or other funding. We’d like to thank our coach Sarah Moon, our parents and supporters, and the University of Bath for their incredible support.”
The University of Bath has supported the group by providing training facilities and sports science support.
Stephen Baddeley, Director of Sport at the University of Bath, said: “I’m delighted for them they’ve work hard to achieve what was quite rightly a demanding performance standard.
“They haven’t got in on a technicality, they did it by achieving the qualification criteria fair and square at the test event.”
The group were in action in Sweden at the weekend, where they won the Nordic Championships.
They have now returned to their University of Bath training base where they are stepping up their preparations ahead of the Ganes. There are still some criteria the group need to meet to secure an Olympic berth.
Their next major stepping stone is to qualify for the European Championships in Russia at the end of May.
Great Britain have never competed in the group rhythmic gymnastics competition at an Olympic Games.
It is understood that the British Olympic Association will announce the British gymnastics team for 2012 on 4 July.
The group rhythmic gymnastics competition at 2012 takes place over three days at the Wembley Arena. The group all-around qualifications take place on Thursday 9 August and Friday 10 August, with the final on Sunday 12 August.
The group event consists of two synchronised routines performed to music, one with balls and the second with ribbons and hoops. Scores are awarded on the basis of difficulty, artistry and execution.
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