SUBC?s Tim O?Callaghan and MUBC?s George Jelbart quickly lodged appeals against their non-selection in the 2004 Australian Lightweight Four a week ago last Sunday following their exclusion from the team. O?Callaghan and Jelbart, who had convincingly won both the pairs and fours finals at the January selection regatta were left out of the crew in favour of the third placed pair who they had beaten by over six seconds.
At the finish of the selection regattas on Sunday 20th February O?Callaghan was ranked No 1 in lightweight sweep and his pair partner Jelbart was ranked No 2. After four further trials in fours during which O?Callaghan got only one row in the four the pair were rather surprised to be told by selectors that they were not wanted.
Perhaps the results were not that surprising in light of occurrences on the bank at the January selection regatta. After that regatta SUBC Executive Committee was obliged to lodge a complaint with Rowing Australia through the Head Selector after the nominated coach of the lightweight four had made comments about athletes and the four selection.
To quote from the SUBC letter to RA of 2nd February : ?our club considers it quite improper that this sort of talk would emanate from a selected coach. It shows that not all those involved in elite rowing in Australia respect the selection system we have in place and such talk reduces respect for that system with possible unfortunate consequences.?
It seems that those unfortunate consequences have been visited on one of our own athletes and one from our rival MUBC. SUBC certainly hopes that the appeal of both these athletes is successful and that the lightweight four is selected on the merit of the rower?s performances.
The appeal was to be heard in Melbourne on Monday but Rowing Australia has delayed the appeal hearing at this time.