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  • BOA Ratifies Controversial Taekwondo Nomination; 100th Anniversary for Stockholm


    BOA Ratifies Controversial Taekwondo Nomination

    British Olympic Association officials unanimously agree to select 104-ranked Lutalo Muhammad over world number one Aaron Cook for taekwondo’s 80kg category at the Games.
    Lutalo Muhammad is the reigning European champion in the 87kg category. (Getty Images)

    Friday’s decision by a four-person panel on Olympic Qualification Standards follows the BOA twice rejecting British Taekwondo’s nomination of Muhammad over Cook.

    BT’s third time around proved different, according to a statement from the BOA.

    “In convening a Selection Committee for a third time in order to bring forward a nomination for the Men’s Under-80 kg weight category, British Taekwondo did in fact follow its approved selection procedures and did comply with the directives given to it by an earlier Appeal Panel and the OQS Panel,” said the BOA.

    BT performance director Gary Hall has argued that the WTF’s world rankings are flawed and that recent rule changes – specifically those governing headshots – make Muhammad a stronger medal prospect in London.

    Cook finished fourth in the 80kg division at Beijing 2008 but has since suffered a first-round exit from the 2011 world championships – and a falling-out with British Taekwondo after leaving its training program last year.

    “There are two world-class athletes directly impacted by this nomination, and our panel would have preferred to see the selection process managed in a manner that would have been of much greater service to both athletes,” BOA CEO, Team GB chef de mission and OQS panellist Andy Hunt said Friday in a statement, citing the “undue strain and uncertainty” placed upon Muhammad and Cook.

    “That said, after a thorough review, the panel is now sufficiently satisfied that the agreed selection procedures have been followed, and it is on that basis we are ratifying the nomination.”

    Still, says the BOA, the OQS panel reserves the right to reconsider Muhammad’s selection subject to the findings of a separate investigation launched Thursday by the World Taekwondo Federation.

    100th Anniversary for Stockholm Games

    The Swedish Olympic Committtee (SOK) is celebrating the centenary of the Stockholm 1912 Summer Olympics this weekend.
    The opening ceremony of the 1912 Olympics. (Getty Images)

    While the Games started June 29, the key celebration will take place this week as part of “Solskensolympiaden” or “Sunshine Olympics”.

    On June 8, a gala is scheduled at Stockholm City Hall.

    A sport festival is scheduled for Saturday at Stockholm Olympic Stadium with sport demonstrations and youth competition. Included in the sports on display will be tug of war. Sweden won the gold at the Games, but Great Britain was the only other competitor.

    Speakers during the ceremonies include King Gustav of Sweden and LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe. Coe is speaking as part of his seemingly never-ending tours in promotion of the upcoming Games, now less than 50 days away.

    An interesting note about the Games – the SOK played no part in organizing the Olympics. The Central Swedish Association for Promotion of Sport took charge because the SOK wasn’t founded until 1913.

    On Friday, the SOK announced “Hagsätra IP” as the official team song of the Games.

    “Hagsätra IP "is about dreams that are born on the local sports ground,” a statement on the SOK website translated into English says, “when you're twelve years old and have a bike, a few dollars in your pocket and when the whole world is just there, waiting to be discovered.”

    Cuts and Losses for Brazil Olympic Football

    Several veteran footballers were axed from the initial Team Brazil list following a series of friendlies.
    Ronaldinho was the biggest name cut from Brazil's preliminary Olympic squad. (Getty Images)

    Coach Mano Menezes cut 17 players from the preliminary listing, it was announced Friday.

    Ronaldinho, Hernanes and Julio Cesar were among the big names dropped from the team.

    By June 6, Menezes will need to eliminate 14 additional footballers and confirm the final 18 players who will head to London.

    The friendlies gave the coach a chance to gauge the players’ performances, but he was not the only one to form an opinion about the team.

    Pele pilloried the footballers after a 2-0 loss in a friendly against Mexico, saying they were not ready for the Olympics.

    “It is a good team, with good players but not yet ready to overcome difficulties when they arise,” he said.

    The former star player was especially critical of rising footballer Neymar, saying that he doubted his ability to play against top European defenders.

    Rowing Crews Confirmed

    Rowing crews that qualified at the Final Olympic Regatta are now confirmed for the London Games.

    The International Rowing Federation (FISA) made the announcement Thursday after the National Olympic Committees confirmed each qualified crew.

    For complete qualification listings, click here.

    “Giant Ambient Javelins” for London Decoration

    London can cross off another item on the to-do list as the host city prepares to be festooned with miles of bunting and thousands of banners, and installing “giant ambient javelins”.
    A high street in Stratford was the first to unveil its Games dressing Friday. (Getty Images)

    London Mayor Boris Johnson announced plans for London’s decorations on Friday, which include more than 6,000 lamppost banners, 15 miles of bunting and architectural installations of giant shot puts and javelins. The first decorations went up in Stratford.

    “With less than 50 days to go before the greatest show on earth I am delighted that London is getting spruced up to show why it's the best city in the world in which to live, visit and invest,” Johnson said.

    “Whether it’s the splash of colour from banners and bunting, or the surprise of giant ambient javelins or tea-making machines, London will be an enchanting place to be this summer like no other.”

    Additionally, a large “algaezebo” in Euston Square will facilitate the production of bio-fuels and a multi-sensory "song board” in Kings Cross station will allow visitors to create their own audio-visual patterns.

    WSB Boxers Visit London Boxing Club

    Aspiring local boxers trained with five World Series of Boxing finalists Thursday at the West Ham Boxing Club in East London.
    Five WSB boxers visited the West Ham Boxing Club. (WSB)

    Gairbek Germakhanov, Adlan Abdurashidov, Heybulla Mursalov, Azamat Murtuzaliyev and Ramazan Magomedau spent two hours training with more than 40 youth and adult boxers at the club.

    “I really enjoyed this training session, it was very special,” Mursalov said. “The place, the people, everything was fantastic. I was really impressed by some of the young kids.”

    In fact, the West Ham Boxing Club claims to have produced more than 150 National Champions over the past 20 years.

    The WSB finalists weighed in later Friday at Covent Garden.


    A story published earlier Friday by Around the Rings has been updated.

    The copy now more precisely reflects the IOC position on a hypothetical situation in which Algerian athletes could refuse to compete against Israelis at the London Olympics.

    Written by Hannah Reid and Ed Hula III.

    For general comments or questions, click here.

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