Athletics Ireland reject suggestion that marathon runner's Moldovan background led to Rio omission

Sergiu Ciobanu has aired his disappointment at being omitted from the Ireland team for Rio 2016

Sergiu Ciobanu

Sergiu Ciobanu ©INPHO/James Crombie

Athletics Ireland has defended its selection policy which has resulted in a Moldavan-born Irish marathon runner not being selected for the Rio Olympics.

Sergiu Ciobanu has aired his disappointment at being omitted from the Ireland team, despite having the third fastest qualification time. He believes he would have been selected had he been born in Ireland.

Paul Pollock has been chosen ahead of Ciobanu and Athletics Ireland says the policy is not limited to times alone.

 

 

In a statement to The42, Athletics Ireland said their decision was based on sporting grounds.

They said: "We understand the disappointment of athletes who were not selected.

"We categorically and completely reject any inference that an athlete’s background was in any way a factor in the decision. The selection process and criteria has been in place since 2015 and communicated to all.

"The five-person panel of experienced people — Jim Aughney, Eamon Harvey, Patsy McGonagle, Brid Golden, Paul McNamara with Kevin Ankrom as chair — assessed the situation carefully.

"The panel made very difficult decisions given that we were privileged to have to make choices with so many athletes hitting the qualification times.

"The decisions were based purely on which athletes the panel believed would deliver the best performances at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro."