NZOC pledge to review handling of 'Val-Gate'

SIMON PLUMB IN LONDON
Last updated 05:00 09/08/2012
Valerie Adams
IAIN McGREGOR/Fairfax NZ
NO CONSOLATION: The NZOC has pledged to review its handling of the administrative errors that affected Valerie Adams' Olympic shot put title defence, which resulted in a silver medal.

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The New Zealand Olympic Committee has vowed to re-assess the handling of crucial athlete documents following a serious administrative error at London 2012.

Secretary general Kereyn Smith says the NZOC plans to evaluate and increase safeguards after they failed to register five of New Zealand's nine Olympic track and field athletes - shot putter Valerie Adams, 1500m runner Lucy Van Dalen, decathlete Brent Newdick, javelin thrower Stuart Farquhar and walker Quentin Rew.

A basic oversight, amounting to a single confirmation box being left blank on four official registration forms, was exposed hours before Adams was due to begin the defence of her Olympic title.

The error risked Olympic disqualification for all five athletes and the NZOC had to take emergency action for instatement, which in Adams' case came well beyond the registration deadline for her event.

After accepting the culpability of her organisation, including chef de mission Dave Currie, Smith says a review will be conducted, though she was unable to deliver any specifics.

"Into the future we will review processes and documentation thoroughly," Smith said.

"That's obviously an obligation we have to all athletes across all sports, we'll definitely do that.

"We can envisage there are a number of recommendations that come forward in due course and the fullness of time."

The NZOC's pledge to tighten protocol marks the halfway point of a messy governance saga which plundered star athlete Adams into unnecessary panic on the eve of her gold medal defence.

Adams says she had to raise the alarm herself after discovering she was missing from the start sheet of the women's shot put. Adams was added to the field on the evening before competition and went on to win silver.

The NZOC admission is the latest in a series of controversies around New Zealand's 2012 Olympic campaign.

In April, 17-year-old shot put junior world champion Jacko Gill withdrew from Olympic selection after New Zealand's qualification standards were "miscommunicated" to athletes. The NZOC, who oversee selections, baked away from responsibility.

The NZOC has also found itself in the firing line over the Olympic shooter Ryan Taylor.

Smith admitted her organisation did not uncover the "genuine mistake" of Taylor's national body supplying them with lower international scores than Taylor had actually achieved.

After originally being left out of the Kiwi team for London, Taylor is seeking $8000 compensation for legal fees spent on overturning an NZOC decision based on wrong information.

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