Last Updated: 28/07/11 2:41pm
Stadnik: Ukrainian-born wrestler took silver for GB at Europeans
UK Sport have backed British Wrestling's selection of foreign-born athletes and insist they are not being used to pump-up funding in the short term.
Three wrestlers will represent Team GB at London 2012, and they could all originate from Eastern Europe with Ukrainian pair Yana Stadnik and Olga Buktevych and Bulgarian Krasimir Krastanov vying for selection.
British Wrestling originally brought the trio in to help train Britain's own wrestlers and raise standards, but now they have all been seen in competition for Great Britain.
Stadnik has even brought back a silver medal from the European Championships in Azerbaijan, although some feel the newcomers will restrict the chances of home-grown athletes.
With Olympic funding being handed out based on performance, accusations could be made that British Wrestling could use these athletes to provide a quick boost of cash to then develop their sport further.
"In British Wrestling, everybody is selected to the team on merit. Everybody has the same opportunity."
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"Bringing in people to win medals would not wash," said a spokesman for UK Sport, who insist they are comfortable with British Wrestling's long-term plan.
"Sports have to present a four or five-year plan. They have to show a system is place which has the potential to produce further medals in 2016.
"If you can bring in people who benefit the system that has got to be good for the future."
UK Sport have also ruled out the possibility of other underperforming sports looking to bring in foreign-born athletes to earn a quick burst of funding.
British Wrestling chief executive Colin Nicholson has also dismissed complaints over foreign-born athletes, saying the likes of Stadnik can provide the long-term legacy for wrestling that UK Sport demands.
"In British Wrestling, everybody is selected to the team on merit. Everybody has the same opportunity," said Nicholson.
"But British Wrestling operates in a global environment where the currency is world-class medals and our training partners are so important in bringing those world-class standards to our academy in Salford.
"In its aims, British Wrestling has the full support of the International Federation and UK Sport.
"At the same time, British Wrestling is working hard to raise coaching skills across the country, to raise the standard of Britain's wrestlers, to secure our post-London legacy, and success in Rio 2016.
"British Wrestling looks forward to this future with great enthusiasm.
"The fact is that we need to welcome our training partners wholeheartedly, such that when their prime wrestling years are over they continue their established relationship with Britain by delivering world-class coaching to Britain's up-and-coming young wrestlers of the future."
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