Sunday 19 November 2017

Athletics: Mills decides not to appeal 'disheartening' omission from London squad

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

JOANNA Mills has decided not to appeal her exclusion from the Olympic 4x400m squad to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The 19-year-old Ulster runner, fourth at European juniors last year, had contemplated it after being dropped from the relay team just three days before the London 2012 opening ceremony.

She was dropped as a result of the Olympic Council of Ireland's (OCI's) decision to reinstate Kilkenny's Caitriona Cuddihy.

"If I was successful in my (CAS) appeal, I don't think I would now be comfortable going into the environment of competing in London," the Ballymena & Antrim athlete said.

Neither athlete was likely to run in London because they were both vying for the sixth spot on the squad and are essentially 'reserves'.

But they have both experienced a roller-coaster ride in recent weeks: Cuddihy was initially selected, then dropped after Mills won an appeal to be included -- and then the Ulster woman was subsequently dropped after Cuddihy's successful counter-appeal, when an OCI tribunal stood by Athletics Ireland's original decision.

There is already speculation that the way the matter was handled could see Mills switch allegiance and declare for Britain in future.

She has acknowledged that it is something she will give some consideration -- but stressed that she does not want to do anything too hastily or in anger.

"I've got a lot of opportunities through Ireland, a lot of individuals in the set-up have been very good to me," Mills said.

"I can't in any way ignore that but, at the same time, the whole way the high-performance management and coaches have dealt with this issue is disheartening and I will have to make a decision. But it's not one I'm going to make at the minute, in the middle of all this."

• Stephanie Houghton gave Great Britain Olympic lift-off in Cardiff yesterday with the only goal of the women's football opener against New Zealand. The 24-year-old curled home a superb second-half free-kick to put the home side on track for a place in the last eight of the 12-team competition.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport