Monique Dell's Commonwealth Games appeal rejected

Monique Williams. Photo / Mark Mitchell.
Monique Williams. Photo / Mark Mitchell.

The Sports Tribunal has turned down an appeal from former New Zealand sprint champion Monique Dell over her non-selection in the women's 4x400m relay team in the Commonwealth Games.

Dell, nee Williams, was nominated as one of the six members of the Games relay team subject to her "proving form and fitness", with Kristie Baillie nominated as first reserve.

To secure her spot in the team, Athletics New Zealand (ANZ) advised Dell she was required to meet a performance standard of running 400 metres in 54.25 seconds by June 30 to be confirmed as selected.

She failed to meet that standard and Baillie was put forward by the New Zealand Olympic Committee as the sixth member selected for the relay team.

Dell appealed the decision, arguing she had been prejudiced because of uncertainty over whether she had been nominated and ANZ had no power to impose a performance standard. She also claimed the selection process was biased.

In an urgent hearing last week, the Tribunal dismissed Dell's arguments, with their decision released publicly today.

In their published decision, the Tribunal said they considered "Dell was nominated by ANZ with, what was in effect, a recommendation that her selection should be subject to a condition".

The Tribunal ruled NZOC selectors weren't bound to select Dell because she had been nominated, nor were they bound by any performance recommendation by ANZ selectors, nor were they prevented from imposing a performance requirement of their own.

The NZOC selectors were entitled to adopt as the performance requirement a time specified by the ANZ selectors who had particular expertise and knowledge. The Tribunal considered the NZOC selectors made a conditional selection of Dell subject to her achieving the specific performance standard, which she did not do.

The Tribunal was also satisfied Dell was fairly informed by ANZ of the performance standard.

"While it would have been preferable if ANZ's advice had been accompanied by written advice by NZOC of Ms Dell's conditional selection, the Tribunal's view is that the communications fairly informed Ms Dell of what was expected of her if she was to be confirmed as a member of the relay squad. Ms Dell didn't voice any disagreement at the time about the imposition of that requirement," the decision read.

The ruling also stated there was no bias in Baillie's selection as she had run the sixth fastest recent 400m time which justified her selection as first reserve.

"[The Tribunal is] satisfied that Ms Dell was not prejudiced by the processes followed and decisions made by ANZ and the NZOC which in fact allowed her an extension of time to prove her fitness."

Dell was at the forefront of New Zealand women's 400 metre running for a number of years, recording a personal best time of 51.88 seconds in 2009. She did not compete as much in the event over the next few years before returning to the distance during the 2013 season. She recorded creditable 400m times in July 2013 but these were outside the individual qualifying criteria, so her opportunity to compete at the Commonwealth Games was limited to the 400m relay.

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