Peternell in, but South Africa’s Olympic committee unhappy

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Alex Peternell
Alex Peternell

Eventer Alexander Peternell will represent South Africa at the Olympics following a ruling by the world’s top court for sporting disputes, but his country’s Olympic committee is far from happy about it.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, this week set aside the selection of Paul Hart, leaving the way clear for Peternell.

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) released a statement today in which it described the ruling that resulted in the selection of Peternell, who bases himself in Britain, as unfortunate.

SASCOC chief executive Tubby Reddy said: “The Court of Arbitration for Sport has unfortunately ruled in favour of Mr Alex Peternell and has instructed both the South African Equestrian Federation (SAEF) and ourselves … to include this athlete into our team.

“This is the second attempt by Mr Peternell to take SASCOC and the SAEF to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“As we all know, this athlete has been based in the United Kingdom for the last 11 years consecutively and we have now been instructed to include him in the equestrian discipline of eventing.

“It is indeed a very sad day for us as a country to be instructed to select an athlete into Team South Africa against our will, but being a disciplined member of the Olympic movement we have no option but to adhere fully to this decision.

Paul Hart
Paul Hart

“To Paul Hart, all I can say is that, as SASCOC, we tried assiduously and to the best of our ability to support you in your quest for Olympic representation and in fact challenged the Court of Arbitration for Sport twice in this process, indicating that it is our belief that your selection was in fact a fair process.

“Unfortunately, with this ruling … we cannot deviate in any way whatsoever as this ruling gives a clear indication that the selection of Mr Peternell has been made by CAS, and we are now implementing their decision.

“It is with regret that one of our loyal countrymen, Paul Hart has to bear the brunt of this sad situation.

“It is abundantly clear from the comments posted on the official SASCOC website, from largely the South African public, that the South African public has stood and continues to stand behind Paul Hart as the preferred athlete for selection.

“This decision is unfortunate as it forces upon the South African public an athlete that they do not necessarily recognise and one that they do not necessarily support.

“While this whole affair is regrettable, for the sake of the Olympic Games it is important to move forward and focus our energies on the job on hand and concentrate on our team’s preparation.”

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Peternell in, but South Africa’s Olympic committee unhappy

  • July 25, 2012 at 10:06 pm
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    A crying shame, the traitor( Peternell) ran away from his country 11 yaers ago but now wants to compete under the South African banner!! Has he ever heard of being wanted in a team or of team spirit? Hope he fails spectacularly, only shame is that it will be under the South African banner

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    • July 26, 2012 at 6:14 am
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      Many people here in South Africa are not happy about this. Personally, I feel that Mr Peternell represents everything that is wrong with sport: Win at all costs, no matter how you do it.

      He is a bad example to all aspiring young Olympians and I, for one, will not be supporting him. Now, or ever!

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  • July 26, 2012 at 5:36 am
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    The shame here lies with the selectors, for bungling the process, and SASCOC, for showing bias against one of their own athletes. The hero is Alex, who took on the brass and won. Best of luck, Alex. Give it horns!

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  • July 26, 2012 at 5:50 am
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    Many of our great (South African) sports stars have based themselves overseas and I don’t see us turning our backs on them. I hope Alex Peternell gives a spectacular performance!

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  • July 26, 2012 at 7:16 pm
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    Paul Hart and Heartbreak Hill rightfully earned there place in the team. They met every criteria. This whole case was won at CAS because of a very good Lawyer and a wording loophole. In eventing an ATHLETE ranking is determined on rider and horse. Alex’s individual points are higher than Paul’s individual point. BUT at time of selection Paul Harts Combination points exceeded Alex’s combination points due to the fact that Alex’s top horse went lame. Therefore at time of selection Alex’s combination points were lower than Paul’s combination points. A rider cannot compete without his best horse. Alex then qualified a second horse after deadline date. Won the CAS case due to the fact that HE (individual) had the most points. So does the horse not count? It is the riders obligation to consider the horse and it’s ability. (Horse is paramount). That is why horses earn points on their performance. Paul and his horse Hearthbreak Hill ( a South Africa thoroughbred, bred in South Africa, ex racehorse in South Africa) has been a combination for 11 years. Came up through the ranks with Paul and has never competed with anyone else, is an amazing combination that know each other inside out.Paul and Heartbrek Hill at time of selection was the best combination for South Africa. Mandy Mason and Martyn Swanepoel had more points than Alex, yet did not have horses. So the best combination for the Olymics was submitted. CAS ruled in Alex’s favour on his points alone.

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  • July 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm
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    The best combination for South Africa should have been chosen. Alex has not lived in our country for more than a decade so we don’t view him as one of ours anymore – sorry! Paul and Heartbreak Hill were our national hope… Sad sad day for SA sport

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  • July 31, 2012 at 1:00 am
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    Why is it that only one of these riders was allowed to represent South Africa and not both? Is it a budgetary issue?

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  • August 18, 2012 at 5:21 am
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    Alex also met all the criteria, and he and Asih ARE the highest ranking TEAM having earned 5 points as a team in the past 12 months vs Paul and Harry’s 2 points. And if Paul and Harry know each other so well why have they been eliminated in 4 or the last 6 events they have been to since the 2010 WEG?

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  • September 17, 2012 at 12:17 am
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    I’m very disapointed to read comments rejecting him only because he trains in the UK… As a doctor, if I ever leave south africa to study or specialize abroad, I can only hope I’m not thrown away too…

    Reply

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