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OLYMPICS: Sophie’s future promise got her the nod for London 2012
"ONCE Louise Bond-Williams, who was in the world’s top 50 and was our number one sabreur, was selected, there were then only two places left and we looked at the three athletes in contention.
Based on the performances leading up to selection, we assessed that, at that point in time, none of those were genuine medal contenders for London.
Therefore, we started to think about 2016 and out of the three, which one offers the most promise for the future.
Who do we think can, in the future, beat the best in the world?
We did quite a lot of work on looking at their current world rankings. Are they beating people better than them? Are they losing to those worse than them? There wasn’t much between them.
Sophie is five years younger than the other two, so here was an athlete who’s been mixing it with other, more experienced fencers.
We just made a judgment based on where Sophie is at this point.
She offers our brightest prospect for the future and therefore, she deserves to go.
There have been a lot of subjective things said about how she’s lower down in the rankings but it was minimal at that time and it was then not about London – it was about 2016 and what we were looking to develop for the future.
It’s who she’s beating. Sophie can beat people ranked higher than her and rarely loses to people ranked lower.
She’s in her first full year as a senior and we’ve looked at where she is versus other athletes and the world’s best.
In our view, if she gets the right support, we can push it so that she gets towards that podium spot.
What I’ve been saying to Sophie and the other athletes that have been selected in terms of 2016 is that they’ve got nothing to lose in London.
It’s all about getting experience and doing the best you can.
They’ll benefit so much from being at the Games, understanding the environment and the pressure with it.
Evidence shows that people medal more at their second Olympics.
Until you go, I don’t think you can understand what it’s like sitting in the Olympic Village, going in for lunch and having the likes of Roger Federer sat opposite you on the table.
It can be mind-blowing.
We believe that Sophie and these athletes will put in a credible performance and the British Olympic Association wouldn’t have accepted them otherwise."