Ex-Ukrainian Butkevych earns only British wrestling place at London 2012
Friday, 15 June 2012
June 15 - Olga Butkevych (pictured), an Ukrainain-born athlete who was granted a British passport in May, has been selected as Britain's only wrestler at the London 2012 Olympics.
The 26-year-old, second at a Games Test event, will compete in the 55kg class at ExCeL on August 9, the British Olympic Association has confirmed.
British Wrestling was initially awarded three places at the Games, but lost two after a ruling by the Olympic Qualification Standards (QQS) panel, which included Sir Clive Woodward and Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt, that it had failed to achieve agreed performance targets.
The OQS Panel also stated that the sport needed to do "more work" to ensure a meaningful post-Games legacy for wrestling.
This is to include much greater emphasis on increasing participation at the grass-roots level in the UK and creating a clear performance plan to qualify athletes by right for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The decision of the OQS panel came after a year of controversy within the sport.
In April 2011 several former athletes came out in protest against the recruitment of foreign training partners, who they alleged were in fact taking the places of British wrestlers in competitions.
Butkevych (pictured below left) was among a group of Eastern European athletes brought over to train with the GB squad in 2007.
There were also calls for leading figures within the sport's management to quit and earlier this month English Commonwealth champion and Olympic medal hope Myroslav Dykun tested positive for a banned substance.
Butkevych won bronze at the European Championships in Dortmund last year and she will hope to reproduce the form she displayed at the Olympic Test Event at ExCeL last December, where she won the silver medal.
"I won silver at the test event last year, and it would be wonderful if I can be on the podium for the real thing," Butkevych said.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank performance director Shaun Morley, and the coaching team at British Wrestling, for all their support since I started representing Britain.
"It is thanks to their support and patience that I have achieved this honour, and I cannot begin to say how much I appreciate it.
"Wrestling is a great sport, and I hope that more and more people will realise that when competition at the Olympics gets underway.
"I hope that I can help it grow in the UK, and help it benefit from all the plans for an Olympic legacy that British Wrestling have been working so hard to achieve."
May 2012: British wrestlers suffer technical knockout at hands of BOA
May 2012: British wrestler set to miss London 2012 after positive drugs test
March 2012: Ukrainian-born female wrestlers fail to secure UK passport in time for London 2012
January 2012: Government set to shut door on "Plastic Brits"
December 2011: Alan Hubbard - "Plastic Brits" wrestling policy contrary to Olympic spirit