Olympics: Admin error extends beyond Adams

By Dylan Cleaver, David Leggat

The "administrative error" that has plagued New Zealand's athletics campaign has stretched further than just Valerie Adams.

The NZOC needed a late reprieve from the IAAF - world athletics governing body - to allow Olympic debutant Lucy van Dalen to compete in the 1500m.

Like Adams, van Dalen was not registered for her event. President Mike Stanley said the NZOC operational team, led by chef de mission Dave Currie, was still unsure just how the glaring oversight occurred.

At a press conference Wednesday morning (NZ time) Currie said athletics section manager Raylene Bates had handed forms in for all members of the track and field team. Most had been completed correctly but those for Adams and van Dalen had not.

Adams was aware at 6:15pm the night before her competition that she had been cleared to compete.

"I've never seen anybody as distraught as Raylene" Currie said.

NZOC secretary general Kereyn Smith said; "this is a regretable human error and we are very sorry it has happened."

"We're looking at it very, very closely to see how it could have occurred," Stanley said.

"When we understand how it happened we will put steps in place to ensure it will never happen again.

"We do everything we can to provide a high-performance environment to make sure athletes get a clean shot at their competition.

"We have fallen well short of that benchmark. It's extremely regrettable and something we take very seriously."

The Herald understands van Dalen and Adams were the only ones affected and that Quentin Rew, Brent Newdick and Stuart Farquhar, those track and field athletes who are competing now, or are yet to compete, were registered in time.

US-based van Dalen will compete in the semifinals of the 1500m tomorrow morning (NZT) after safely negotiating yesterday's heats.

Stanley said he had passed on his apologies via Adams' manager Nick Cowan for the "extremely regrettable" incident that saw the defending champion's name missing from the original start lists.

Adams won silver at the Olympic Stadium yesterday, but by her own admission was out-of-kilter and her best throw of 20.70m was well short of Belarusian Nadzeya Ostapchuk's winning throw of 21.36m.

Stanley was not there when Adams was informed of the "administrative error" but he said she was "affected by it".

"She was upset and I can completely understand that," he said.

Whether that transferred through to her performance yesterday was a matter for speculation.

"She has a good camp around her and is a true professional," Stanley said.

Cowan confirmed today the shot putter had been upset by the incident but would not be drawn on whether the detrimental nature of what happened was the difference between Adams winning silver or gold.

Adams' conceded she was beaten by a better thrower on the night, but the incident was clearly still on her mind: "It caused a little bit of stress. That's the sort of s*** you don't need to deal with."

The incident has cast an unnecessary dark cloud over New Zealand's campaign. At a time when the country should be looking ahead to who could scoop New Zealand's 100th Olympic medal, the story is instead focused on one person's error.

- NZ Herald

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