Swimming NZ's Rio rejection of Radford and Webby criticised as a 'real travesty'

Athletes on both sides of the Tasman have swung their support behind open water swimmers Kane Radford and Charlotte Webby after Swimming New Zealand rejected their selection for the Rio Olympics.

Kane Radford and Charlotte Webby.
Kane Radford and Charlotte Webby. Source: Photosport

Webby, 27, and Radford, 25, both secured qualifying spots last week but have been told they don't meet the selection criteria.

Former triathlete Sam Warriner, who represented New Zealand at the 2004 Olympic games, called their non-selection "a real travesty".

"NZ Swimming has made this decision because they don't judge these two athletes to be capable of finishing in a significant position in these Olympics," she said.

"However, there are multiple other New Zealand codes sending athletes who are equally as unlikely to podium or even finish in the top 12. 

"These athletes are being sent because they are young in their development, and potentially capable of greater results in Tokyo.

"Are Swimming NZ making a statement that Charlotte and Kane are too old to be considered a development athlete - in a sport which is young at the Olympics and therefore we just don't know when these athletes will be at their peak?"

Swimming New Zealand said in a statement that the selectors were "not satisfied that there was sufficient evidence that either of the swimmers is capable of achieving the published nomination criteria".

The criteria is that "an individual swimmer must be capable of achieving a top 16 placing at the Games with the potential to win an Olympic Diploma (top eight placing)."

'I've raced Kane many times and he's always been competitive'

Aussie Jared Poort, one of Radford's close rivals, is championing a cause to have the decision reversed, saying "it's seriously beyond craziness".

"According to NZ swimming the reason they are not going to take him to Rio is because they consider him to not be competitive enough," he said.

"You are kidding! I've raced Kane many times and he's always been competitive, I've been beaten by Kane many times and had some epic battles with him."

Radford told ONE News that he is currently consulting with a lawyer so can't comment as to not jeopardise his position.

However, he said he is naturally disappointed with the situation.