English cyclist Sophie Unwin has received an apology from Commonwealth Games But she won’t take home a bronze for finishing third in the women’s B tandem race on Friday.
Unwin was left in tears after she and pilot Georgia Holt beat ex-Scotland Paralympic sprinter Libby Clegg, led by Jenny Hall, only to learn they would not be awarded a medal under the competition rules because only four teams participated.
The race was billed as a race for the bronze medal, and Unwin initially appeared in the official results as the medal winner.
The couple tried to stand behind the coronation ceremonial flag of England before being moved by a member of the security.
They later borrowed bronze medals from the women’s team pursuit team for an unofficial podium photo – actions that earned them and England team manager Keith Reynolds a fine of CHF200 (£172) from the International Cycling Union, cycling’s governing body.
The England squad have lodged protests with the Commonwealth Games Association over the matter, which was discussed at a meeting on Saturday morning, but there will be no change to the decision.
A CGF spokesperson said: “In the small number of cases where there are fewer than five entries into a Commonwealth Games event, the CGF applies a medal allocation policy to maintain the integrity of the competition.
“The policy – published in January of this year – states that only gold and silver medals are awarded where there are only four runners; and gold medals only where there are only three or two runners.
“Unfortunately, while the women’s tandem B event was informed of this prior to the race, the scoreboard and scoresheet incorrectly indicated that it was a bronze medal race. We apologize to the athletes involved for the unintended ordeal this caused.”
Five teams originally entered the event but only four started at the start, bringing the rule into effect. However, this does not seem to communicate well.
Unwin and Holt – who won the Paralympic road race silver and individual bronze at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and also have a world title – were told briefly their post-race interviews for the podium, but then broke down in tears. After they found out that they were ineligible for a medal.
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