Heath Thorpe v Gymnastics Australia
The Applicant appealed his non-selection in the 5 member Men’s Artistic Gymnastics (MAG) team for the World Championships 2023 in Antwerp, Belgium. The main issues in the appeal were whether Gymnastics Australia (GA) had erred in applying its selection policy with respect to the Applicant and whether the Applicant was afforded a reasonable opportunity to satisfy the policy. The 5 MAG athletes and 1 reserve athlete selected by GA for the event participated in the appeal as interested parties.
The application was lodged with the NST on 1 July 2023. All parties lodged submissions and, due primarily to the parties being in different time zones and largely unavailable for a hearing, the matter was heard on the papers. A determination including written reasons was given on 12 July 2023.
The Tribunal considered the Applicant’s 3 key arguments and was not minded to agree that GA had failed to apply performance targets under the policy, or that the Applicant was not afforded a reasonable opportunity to meet the selection criteria notwithstanding late notice of some criteria. The Tribunal was, however, satisfied that GA had failed to weight certain performances as was required under the policy. Accordingly, the appeal was partially upheld and remitted to GA for further consideration with direction. In making this finding the Tribunal noted that GA was proactive and fair in the communication of strategies and decisions, and that the selection decisions were difficult and complex.