London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
Judo star Cousins furious at Olympic snub
JUDO player Peter Cousins was furious with the British Judo Association after he was suprisingly left out of the team for this summer’s Olympic Games in London.
Faith Pitman – the partner of Peter’s twin brother Thomas – was also snubbed in the U-63kg category.
Thirty-one-year-old Cousins – who competed in the U-100kg event at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 – had battled back from injury and an operation and had high hopes of making the showpiece, but missed out to fellow Englishman James Austin, based in Edinburgh.
Cousins, of Hookfield in Harlow, had defeated Austin in the final of the British Open in May – the second time he had comprehensively beaten his rival in the last five months.
Cousins said: “I beat James Austin when I won the British Open in Crawley the day before the selection and I won the trials in Sheffield in January.
“I also beat James Austin four times in European events.
“It’s the wrong decision. I should be going and it hurts a lot not to be in the home games. The British Judo Association can be tyrannical and can get away with it. There is no comment as it’s a minor sport.”
He added: “It hurts massively because I had the best chance of a medal. I have gone to events without their support, but I would like to thank everybody who has supported me in Harlow. I would like to thank the people who campaigned for me.”
Friends and family in Harlow had launched a campaign to get Cousins reinstated.
Cousins claimed there was favouritism by the BJA. “James Austin’s coach is Billy Cusack and he is one of the selectors. When I was injured he picked up one medal in two-and-a-half years.”
Dejected at missing out on the Olympics, he said: “There will be so much public interest and it would have been brilliant to have been a part of it.
“It would have been brilliant to have represented my country and Harlow. Harlow has a bad name, but it is full of genuine, lovely people.”
He added: “It’s a bitter end to a pleasing career.”
Cousins has not ruled out going for the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow in
2014 but added: “It is difficult to combine training for that and doing a career in something like the police or fire service.”
Cousins suffered heartache with an early exit in the Beijing Olympics and had hoped to make amends in the capital in August.
Reconstructive knee surgery and a shoulder injury had left him on the sidelines for much of the last two years, but he has been in superb form this year.
Cousins was also disappointed for Pitman. He said: “The other girl beat her at the British Open, but Faith has got more world points and international results than the other girl at the time of the selection. It’s heartbreaking for her.”
Pitman had needed to beat her close rival Gemma Howell in the final of the British Championships earlier this year, but returned with the silver medal.
However, there was a GB call-up for Edinburgh-based Sally Conway.
Her father Mark runs The Edge Martial Arts Studios in The Stow, Harlow.
But British Judo will surely regret its decision to snub Cousins.
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