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Radford wins appeal over Olympic omission

NZN 28/06/2016

Open water swimmer Kane Radford has won an appeal and will compete for New Zealand at the Rio Olympics.

Radford failed to win initial nomination from Swimming New Zealand, resulting in his omission from an eight-strong group announced in April, comprised entirely of pool swimmers.

However, the 25-year-old from Rotorua successfully argued his case at the New Zealand Sports Tribunal, resulting in a nomination from Swimming New Zealand on Monday night which was accepted by the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

Radford will be the first Kiwi open water swimmer to compete at an Olympics.

Swimming NZ's original decision was built on a belief his performances at two nomination events showed he wasn't capable of a top-16 finish in Rio.

Radford was 30th at last year's world championships and placed 19th at the final qualifying race in Portugal three weeks ago.

The Sports Tribunal ruled more weight should been given to Radford's contention that his chances in Portugal were seriously impeded by another swimmer who was disqualified for his tactics.

It also deemed more weight should have been given to his third placing at last year's Pan Pacific Championship and other World Cup performances.

The Sports Tribunal turned down an appeal from omitted women's open swimming hopeful Charlotte Webby, ruling she had insufficient evidence to support her.

Swimming NZ chief executive Christian Renford said marathon swimming form and data is more subjective than the pool equivalent.

"Our selection criteria and process is open and transparent, and allows our swimmers the opportunity to appeal. We fully support the rights of both Kane and Charlotte to appeal," he said.

Renford defended the selectors, saying they acted with integrity and employed the information that they had available to them.

Radford used a crowd-funding website to raise $2828 to help cover the cost of his appeal's legal fees.

His 10km open water race will take place off the Copacabana coastline on August 16.

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