Tom Ashley breaks silence on Olympic decision

Tom Ashley
Tom Ashley

Olympic champion Tom Ashley has broken his silence on his non-selection for next year's Olympic Games, saying he won't challenge Yachting New Zealand on their decision to send Jon-Paul Tobin to the London Games ahead of him.

As for what the future holds for the 2008 gold medallist, Ashley says he needs time to weigh up retirement against another Olympic push four years down the line.

Controversy has swirled since the naming of Tobin to represent New Zealand in the RS:X class in London yesterday, with Yachting New Zealand questioned on Olympic selection criteria with the 2008 Olympic gold medallist overlooked.

Yet speaking to Fairfax Media, Ashley said he won't fight the decision to send long-time rival Tobin, and while disappointed, respects the call the national body has made.

''I've got no interest in trying to fight it,'' he told Fairfax Media.

''I don't think it would be good for anyone. I respect their decision and I respect the people involved. It just wouldn't be fair.''

While the criteria still remains unclear, heavy weighting was placed on the duo's performances at the pre-Olympic regatta in Weymouth earlier this year and the recent World Championships in Perth.

Tobin finished fifth, one spot ahead of Ashley, in Perth, ultimately sealing the Olympic spot for Tobin in retrospect.

Ashley said he still held out hope he might take the Olympic spot, but admitted his non-selection ''wasn't 100 per cent unexpected'' given his performance in Perth, and Tobin's year-long form.

''You never know exactly what the selectors are thinking,'' Ashley said.

''In the end it's not 100 per cent dependable on results but obviously you want to beat the other guy, and I didn't.''

''I won't try to second guess them. They obviously thought long and hard about it and they wouldn't take a decision lightly. They've sent the person they think is best and that's good enough.''

Tobin was one of twelve sailors announced to represent New Zealand at next year's Olympics at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Club clubrooms in Auckland yesterday.

When questioned on his long-term career plans, Ashley, who has studied law, admits the jury's out.

''I don't know. It's not likely I'm holding anything back, I'll just take some time and think about it,'' he said.

''Of course it will be hard to step away from sailing completely because I've being doing it for so long, but we'll see."