Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) officials have been branded "petty-minded" after insisting on creating a precedent by refusing to allow two Scottish badminton players to participate fully in their home Games in Glasgow this summer.
Ronnie Conway, the president of Badminton Scotland, expressed deep dismay at the rejection of his organisation's appeal against the CGS decision that Scotland team members Rebekka Findlay and Caitlin Pringle would be reduced to the role of spectators during the individual events. "The decision is petty-minded and miserabilist," he said.
Conway had believed there was no impediment to the selection of the pair other than the unwillingness of CGS to admit to having made a blunder. As a result he noted that the organisation has made history in a deeply unfortunate fashion for the players.
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"The fact is that CGS could easily have picked these girls in line with their criteria but for reasons only known to themselves, they have chosen to say 'no'," said Conway. "For the first time ever in the history of Scottish representation at the Games, persons who are in the team event have been stopped from competing in the parallel individual event."
CGS officials have repeatedly boasted about both fielding the biggest Scottish team in the history of the Games and their keenness to showcase homegrown talent, but Conway acknowledged that they are the only people minimising the exposure of these two players.
"This is a wasted opportunity for Scottish sport on all kinds of levels," he said. "We are deeply disappointed for the athletes, for the tournament which they would have graced and for the fans who would have watched them and been inspired by the sport.
"The girls, international players, will already be at the Emirates but will now sit out the whole individual tournament. There is a knock-on effect for players such as Martin Campbell, Patrick MacHugh and Jillie Cooper, all of whom have qualified in their own right and who now have no partners for the mixed and women's doubles events respectively.
"I think sports fans throughout Scotland will be baffled at an organisation which seems set on creating barriers to participation for home athletes in a home Games."
A lawyer by profession, Conway acknowledged that Badminton Scotland have not yet had the chance to examine the reasons for this decision and so have still to work out what action to take. "We have asked for reasons and we will consider matters further after we get them," he added.
Invited to comment last night CGS issued a statement which read: "All team selections have been treated consistently and fairly in accordance with processes outlined in the published selection policies."