Olympics tennis boycott threat lifted

 

A boycott of the Olympic women's tennis event has been avoided despite Germany's decision to exclude two of their players.

Anca Barna and Marlene Weingartner were not selected by the German Olympic Committee (NOK) even though they met the global qualifying standard. That produced angry reaction from some women players  who threatened to boycott the Olympic event, which begins next Sunday.

But the Women's Tennis Association said it reluctantly accepted the NOK's final decision that Barna and Weingartner will not be selected and will not press for a boycott of the Games.

WTA chairman and chief executive Larry Scott described the exclusion of the players as "an injustice" which went against the principles of the Olympics and said it was "with deep regret and considerable disappointment" that the WTA Tour had accepted the Germans would not change their mind.

"The end result of this arbitrary and subjective decision is that two athletes with lifelong aspirations to play in the Olympics will not see their dreams come true," said Scott.

Although the WTA Tour will not pursue a boycott Scott revealed that the Olympic agreement with the ITF will not be renewed unless there is an IOC guarantee that all eligible WTA players based on ranking will be entered in the Olympics.

Barna and Weingartner, ranked 46th and 52nd, qualify for Athens based on the ITF's criteria which dictate that the top 56 ranked players earn automatic entry into the Olympics.

The Germans have their own criteria of reaching a semi-final of a Grand Slam or the final of a tier-one event, which neither player has met.

PA