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Olympic champion Romero prepares for event to be axed

Category: England

Published: 9th Dec 2009 15:05:28

Olympic women's individual pursuit gold medallist Rebecca Romero says plans to drop the category from future Games make no sense.

On Thursday, the International Olympic Committee is expected to make changes to ensure males and females compete in an equal number of events.

"I'm all in favour of moving to achieve parity between men and women but there must be a better solution," she said.

"This is a major culling - there's got to be something better."

At the moment, there are seven male and three female track events.

But if the IOC agrees to the new proposals, the men's and women's individual pursuits, men's and women's points races, and the men's Madison would all be dropped.

There would instead be a focus on sprints, keirins, team sprints, team pursuits and omniums for both sexes.

Although it would mean more opportunities for sprinters such as Victoria Pendleton, individual pursuit riders like Romero and men's champion Bradley Wiggins would lose out.

"This is a massive overhaul of the Olympic track programme which will have massive consequences for the sport," she told BBC Radio 5 live.

"There will be more medal opportunities for female riders so it's creating equality in that sense, but it's creating inequality between sprint and endurance riders.

"Out of 10 medals that will now be available, six could potentially just be distributed among two riders.

"It's a great opportunity for Victoria Pendleton - it was really unfair that Chris Hoy has the opportunity (to win three gold medals) and she only had one in Beijing, and I think it's great that she's been fighting towards that.

"But it's a shame it'll affect so many other riders, and the consequences it'll have for so many other athletes around the world who've been training for years towards their dreams."

Romero was expected to make her return to track racing after a year out at the British Championships in October, but her failure to take part is a clear indication that she is already focusing her attentions on a future in road racing.

"The individual pursuit is no longer considered an Olympic event or a priority," she said at the time.

"I guess British Cycling are 100% sure that the change is going through, so straight away I said we'll have to run with these changes and I'll start my preparation as a road cyclist."

British Cycling Performance director Dave Brailsford said the change of focus had happened on the basis that the event was going to be dropped.

"If it doesn't happen, I don't think we'll lose anything, because we know what we're doing in the events that are already there, it's not an issue really," he said.

"The upside is good, the downside isn't so bad were it not to happen."

If, as expected, the pursuit is dropped, then road racing would be Romero's only chance to compete for an individual medal.

She says the challenge of making herself an Olympic-standard road racer is "unknown," but she has proved herself to be very adaptable in the past.

She won a rowing silver in the quadruple sculls at the 2004 Athens games before switching to cycling, and was national road racing champion in 2006.

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BBC News, 2009. Olympic champion Romero prepares for event to be axed [Online] (Updated 9th Dec 2009)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1741/Olympic-champion-Romero-prepares-for-event-to-be-axed [Accessed 2nd Sep 2014]

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