London 2012: Ukraine-born Olga Butkevych may wrestle for GB

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Olga Butkevych
Ukraine-born Olga Butkevych could be Great Britain's only wrestling representative at London 2012

Ukraine-born wrestler Olga Butkevychexternal-link is eligible to compete for Team GB at the London Olympics after receiving a British passport.

The 26-year-old was among a group of Eastern European athletes brought over to train with the GB squad in 2007.

British Wrestling chief executive Colin Nicholson said Ukraine-born Yana Stadnik had failed in her passport bid.

Butkevych could be Team GB's sole Olympic wrestler after the sport failed to meet agreed selection criteria.

On Tuesday the sport was rocked by the news it was losing two of the host-nation berths provisionally awarded by the British Olympic Association (BOA) in April last year.

The Olympic Qualification Standards (OQS) panel, which included Team GB leaders Andy Hunt and Sir Clive Woodward, ruled that British Wrestling would only be allowed to send one athlete to the London Games.

That sole wrestler will come from the female -55kg division in which Butkevych won Olympic test event silverexternal-link at London's ExCel Centre last year.

"Olga [Butkevych] has been wrestling for Great Britain for five years and it's a great boost," Nicholson told BBC Sport.

"All I can confirm is that Olga has received her passport and that Yana [Stadnick] has not."

In 2010, Stadnik became the first woman to win a European Championship wrestling medal for GB.

Twelve months ago she was considered to be the strongest candidate of the foreign-born wrestlers for a place at the Olympic Games, but there have been issues over her passport application.

British Wrestling would not state which athlete it will be nominating for selection, insisting details were still "confidential" for at least two more weeks.

Performance director Shaun Morley also insisted it was "never" the intention to recruit foreign wrestlers for the Great Britain team, but others have not been convinced.

Nicholson has insisted that the estimated £4m of UK Sport fundingexternal-link has been invested well and that even the small representation at London 2012 will still benefit the sport.

"It's great optimism for British Wrestling that we have a place for London, and for our legacy plans going forward it will be fantastic to have someone in the squad who will have Olympic experience," he said.

"Athletes could have been dispersed across Europe and trained with different countries, but had they not made the [Olympic] criteria then we would have been left with nothing.

"I think the money has been invested in a programme and that structure will serve the sport well in the future."

Although the nomination of British wrestlers for London 2012 was believed to take place by 1 June, as outlined in the sport's Olympic qualification criteria,external-link it is now understood the female -55kg athlete will be revealed around the middle of the month.

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