Five tournament wins, a semifinal in the ATP play-offs and ranking as part of the absolute world elite.
This is how last year’s results for Casper Ruud read, but it wasn’t enough to earn Olympiatoppen A status. When the list for 2022 is publishedtennis profiles still have the letter B after their name.
NRK’s Jan Petter Saltvedt believes it fell through his own impropriety.
– That qualifying for the ATP play-offs in tennis in itself is no more than sufficient to qualify for an A scholarship in Norway is in itself a bit absurd, he said.
– Dunfortunately it shows yet again how strictly these rules are practiced on Olympiatoppen’s part, concludes the sports commentator.
Ruud has just advanced to the final of the Roland Garros tournament in Paris. Grand Slam tournaments take place in the exact same facilities where Olympic medals will be awarded two years from now.
Lars Gjerdåker, president of the Norwegian Tennis Association, called on the Olympic Summit to change the rules.
– Casper is not player B. They have to see how they measure quality, continued Gjerdåker.
– Bigger than an Olympic medal
A total of 16 athletes and two teams in summer sports were awarded Olympiatoppens A scholarships in February. To receive an A grant, certain criteria must be met. On Olympiatoppen . website the following results are declared to trigger grant A normally:
- Medals at the Olympics or Paralympics
- Placement among the top three at the World Cup overall in Olympic or Paralympic sports
Olympiatoppen also has criteria which, upon further assessment, may trigger an offer of an A scholarship:
- Top results in Olympics, PL, World Cup, in the special case of EC, and/or competitions at the same level.
Tennis president Gjerdåker believes that the criteria place too much emphasis on medals.
– MMedals are not awarded very often in Tennis. Grand Slam tournaments may have a higher status than the Olympics. It’s bigger than an Olympic medal in tennis, he said of Ruud’s achievements in the ongoing tournament on clay where medals will be up for grabs in 2024.
Saltvedt completely agrees. He was annoyed with the rules, but also with how the rules were enforced by Olympiatoppen.
– It’s hard to understand why people doubt the unrealistic interpretation of the rules — whether it’s to save money that should really be spent happily, or whether it’s because you don’t know any better, he says.
– Can be interpreted and misunderstood
Marit Breivik, head of summer sports at Olympiatoppen, believes there is no need to get hung up on which letter stands behind which athlete.
– Those of us who work closely on this don’t see it that way, he said.
But Breivik stated that the criteria would be evaluated this year, and that he envisaged that this could also lead to a change in terms.
– I agree that this with A and B can be interpreted and misunderstood, he admits.
The summer sports manager further stated that only the scholarship amount differs for athletes A and B, and therefore Ruud has access to the same academic support as if he were categorized as an A.
– So really, this is meaningless, because he is making more than the income limit to get financial support, Breivik concludes.
Saltvedt dismisses this as a cheap argument.
– Ruud obviously doesn’t need the money right now, but it’s about principles and at least a general understanding of levels in various sports.
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