6 Jul 2012

Shooter wins battle to be on NZ Olympic team

9:43 pm on 6 July 2012

Rifle shooter Ryan Taylor has successfully appealed against his exclusion from the New Zealand Olympic team.

The Levin shooter, who competes in the 50 metre rifle prone event, was left out in June this year because the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) did not believe that he could claim a spot in the top 16.

On Friday, Taylor was told that he will be heading to London to compete at the Games.

The qualifying scores he set at the World Cup events Milan this year and Sydney in 2011 are the highest by a New Zealand shooter.

New Zealand's sole spot for shooting had been given to shotgun trap shooter Natalie Rooney, but this has been revoked following the appeal.

Taylor says he feels for Rooney - but believes she should never have been put in that position and it has been tough training for the Games without knowing if he is going.

"The last couple of weeks have been pretty hard - just trying to sort things out with lawyers and whatnot and trying to give them as much information as I can ... It's affecting your normal training and what you've got to do. It's been pretty awkward."

In a statement on Friday afternoon, the NZOC says it believes information used by selectors in the original decision was insufficient and contained errors.

Taylor's lawyer Daniel Kalderimis told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Friday he believed his client's qualifying scores were not properly assessed.

"We looked at Ryan's scores that he had achieved and it was plain that they were exceptionally high in some events and that anyone who could get that level of score, we thought was capable.

"We thought that a proper consideration of what Ryan could really end up with hadn't been given."

Mr Kalderimis is confident Taylor can now go on to win a medal.

"It's been a very stressful few nights for Ryan and I should emphasise that there's been no certainty for him right up until this morning.

"It's a one shot event - it's one round of 60 shots for 600 points, and if Ryan can replicate his best form he is in with a medal chance - and that's what he's hoping for."

Ryan Taylor's place at the Games still depends on the British Olympic Association officially rubber-stamping the reallocation of New Zealand's shooting quota spot to his event.

The Opening Ceremony is on 27 July.