Fencer 'left out of Games over missing contact details'

A top British fencer claims he was left out of the Olympic squad because selectors didn't have his contact details.


Keith Cook, a former British champion who has won five medals at the Commonwealth Games, was told by selectors that they did not think he wanted to be considered for selection for this year's Games.

The 31-year-old - who has beaten four of the world's top 16 swordsmen in recent events - apparently failed to give selectors his contact details, and was therefore assumed not to be interested in representing his country at London 2012.

"I have been representing Great Britain for years, of course they had my contact details," the Scot told the BBC, confirming that he will appeal the decision to omit him.

"This is something I have been aiming for for the last few years so to suggest they did not know I wanted to be considered for selection is just crazy."

Cook was given the explanation for his decision in an email from British Fencing chief executive Piers Martin, who explained that he had not followed the rules of the formal selection process by passing on his contact details.

"British Fencing therefore did not consider that you wanted to be considered for selection," the email read.

But British Fencing spokesman David King subsequently backtracked on that email, instead insisting that Cook had been left out for sporting reasons.

"Keith did not register for the process. It is unfortunate he is falling back on that as the reason for his non-selection," said King. "The reason is he did not meet the grade. We will continue to support his aspirations, he's very talented, but not everyone gets to go to the Olympics."

Cook, however, claims that recent injuries have adversely affected his world ranking, and is appealing to be allowed to join Sophie Williams, Louise Bond-Williams, Corinna Lawrence, Natalia Sheppard, James Davis, Richard Kruse and James Honeybone on the British team.

It is not the first controversy to dog the British fencing team: Williams and Bond-Williams were both selected for the women's sabre at the expense of the British number one and two Jo Hutchison and Chrystall Nicholl.

British Fencing claim the decision to pick fourth-ranked Williams, 21, was not just based on current form but her future potential - although Bond-Williams, a 30-year-old who made her Olympic debut in Athens, is four years older than both Hutchison and Nicholl.

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