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Snowsill loses Olympic appeal

12 June 2012

Emma Snowsill has conceded defeat and won't be defending her Olympic triathlon title in London after losing her appeal.

Snowsill's bid to be selected in Australia's Olympic team failed after a five hour tribunal hearing in Melbourne on Monday night and she said she would not take her fight to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"Whilst I am upset with the outcome, I have to respect the decision of the tribunal and will not be pursuing the matter further," she wrote on her website.

"It has been a difficult time and one I am glad to have resolved.

"To that end, I would like to again apologise to those affected by my appeal and to thank the other athletes for their discretion in the matter.

"My appeal was never a criticism of their abilities and I sincerely wish them all the best for their preparations and performances in London."

The three-member Independent Olympic Appeals Tribunal dismissed Snowsill's arguments that the Triathlon Australia (TA) selection committee was biased, its nomination criteria was not properly followed and that she was not given a reasonable opportunity to satisfy the criteria.

Emma Moffatt, Erin Densham and Emma Jackson will now be nominated by TA to the Australian Olympic Committee to go to the London Games.

Snowsill, 30, appealed after being left out of the team when it was named last week.

But illness and injury in the past 18 months, and Densham's stunning form this year, ultimately cost the Beijing gold medallist the chance to defend her title.

Snowsill has won an Olympic gold medal, a Commonwealth Games title and three world championships, is the most decorated female triathlete in the International Triathlon Union's (ITU) history and is renowned as a big event performer.

Even late last year, she looked certain to join pre-selected Moffatt and Jackson in the team for London.

But then Densham, 27, emerged this year with exceptional form to demand selection after winning two ITU races and finishing second, third and fourth in her other three events.

That left Snowsill in a battle for the final spot with 20-year-old Jackson, the former junior world champion who had a stand-out debut year in the ITU's elite world championship series in 2011 in which she finished fourth.

Jackson was close to gaining an early Olympic nomination along with Moffatt and, while she has not been able to maintain her form this year, she's beaten Snowsill in four of their past five races.

Tribunal chairman David Grace QC said because selectors faced such a difficult decision between Snowsill, Densham and Jackson for the final two spots, one "exceptional athlete" would be disappointed.

Snowsill gave evidence via teleconference from her training base in Germany and was represented by solicitor Paul Horvarth.

As affected athletes, Densham and Jackson were also represented and gave evidence.

Paul Mulvey

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