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British Triathlon explain ‘difficult decision’ after Sophie Coldwell Olympic Games triathlon omission

British Federation say Sophie Coldwell's Paris 2024 omission "simply reflects the strength of our female programme".

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British Triathlon have said the decision not to select Sophie Coldwell for the Olympic Games triathlon at Paris 2024 was “an incredibly difficult one” and that they “understand her disappointment” and will continue to support her.

And they have also attempted to clarify exactly what was meant by “priority race” around WTCS Cagliari.

Their response comes after an angry reaction from Coldwell to her omission, where she said she felt “let down” by the federation and their “inability to follow a selection policy”.

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How the GB selection process worked

Great Britain had qualified the maximum of three female triathletes for Paris, with Beth Potter the only one to automatically book her place by virtue of her performances last season.

That appeared to leave Georgia Taylor-Brown, Kate Waugh and Coldwell vying for the remaining two places.

All three are in the top 15 of the world rankings and had compelling cases. Taylor-Brown won individual silver at the last Olympics in Tokyo, Waugh is improving at a rapid rate while Coldwell claimed her first WTCS victory last season.

An emotional Sophie Coldwell wins WTCS Yokohama 2023 photo credit: World Triathlon / Tommy Zaferes
Sophie Coldwell won WTCS Yokohama in May 2023 [Photo credit: World Triathlon / Tommy Zaferes]

Part of the selection policy had centred around the fact that WTCS Cagliari in late May had been nominated by British Triathlon as a “priority race” and in terms of the finishing order Taylor-Brown was sixth, Coldwell seventh and Waugh 10th, with 16 seconds between the trio.

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‘Much discussion and deliberation’

We covered Coldwell’s statement in full here in which she stated she had won her appeal as “the arbitrator approved it on the grounds of ‘failing to follow the selection policy’ … “and accordingly weight their priority event Cagliari.” But ultimately the original decision stood after the three-person panel met again.

And a spokesperson for British Triathlon has since told us: “The decision not to select Sophie Coldwell was an incredibly difficult one that the panel only reached after much discussion and deliberation.

“Sophie is a world class athlete, as demonstrated by her training and racing results, and her omission simply reflects the strength of our female programme.

“We will continue to support Sophie and understand her disappointment. We will work with her towards her races across the rest of the year.”

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‘Priority race’ – not a qualification one

And in terms of the specifics around that Cagliari result, the spokesperson explained: “2024 World Triathlon Championship Series Cagliari was stated as a priority race on which decisions could be made as part of the selection policy, however it was not a qualification race to determine selection.

“Whilst the performances and results from this race were part of the discussions during the selection meeting and given the additional weight that its priority status requires, there was no distinct difference that could be made between athletes on this race alone.

“Therefore, the full range of criteria were discussed in coming to the final selection decisions.”

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
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