altFEBRUARY 1 - AUSTRALIAN rowing legend James Tomkins (pictured) has claimed a controversial plan to limit the amount of Olympic medals a country can win in rowing at London 2012 goes against everything the Games stands for.


The Swiss proposal would restrict countries to entering a maximum 10 of 14 gold medal classes.


Tomkins said: "It's a ridiculous plan."


Tomkins won four Olympic medals between 1992 and 2004, including three gold, seven world titles and carried Australia's flag at the opening ceremony of last year's Games in Beijing.


He said: "The Olympics are about 'higher, stronger, faster', so you want the best people there.


"It goes against the whole ethos of the event."


Australia was the only country to qualify in all 14 race categories at the Beijing Games last August. Germany and the United States had 13 crews, Britain 12 and China 11.


Britain led the table with two gold medals, two silver and two bronze.


Australia had two gold medals and a silver.


The Swiss plan, proposed by Christian Stofer, director of the the country's rowing federation, is due to be debated by the world governing body FISA at an extraordinary meeting in Cape Town, due to be held February 13-15.


He claimed that it would help the sport develop by giving the sport's smaller countries an opportunity to comepte in the Olympics.


But it has been universally riducled by many countries, including Britain, and opposition is led by Australia's John Coates, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who is also a senior member of FISA's ruling Council


He said: "Having improved the opportunity for developing rowing nations to qualify for the Games through continental Olympic qualifying regattas, the IOC and FISA must be careful to ensure that the Olympics remains a competition for the very best of our rowers and scullers and in every class of boat."