SYDNEY (AFP) –
The race for a spot on Australia’s Olympic archery team has landed in court, with one teenage contender telling a magistrate she was bullied and intimidated by her rival’s father.
Fourth-ranked female archer Odette Snazelle, 18, is seeking an apprehended violence order against Archery New South Wales president Jon Barnard, alleging he intimidated her during Olympic qualifying events.
Snazelle said Barnard, whose daughter Elisa is Australia’s third-placed female archer, had stared her down, stood behind her and even shouted out “Elisa” as she attempted her shots during contests earlier this year, according to Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper Tuesday.
Both Barnard and Snazelle are still in the running for a place on the Olympic team.
“I felt scared and intimidated,” Snazelle told Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court, according to a report of the case in the newspaper.
“I couldn’t concentrate on my shot when I felt I was being constantly watched and followed.”
Snazelle said Barnard had twice followed her to the bathroom, once using his stomach to push her mother out of the way and on another occasion blocking the entrance so that her father had to intervene.
“I was on the verge of tears, I was so scared of Jon Barnard,” she told the court, adding that her “stomach (was) churning like I was going to throw up”.
“I was really fearful of what he was going to do to me,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted her as saying.
Snazelle said Barnard was “there to put me off and intimidate me”, denying that it was “normal” for athletes’ families to scope out their rivals or that the “pressure cooker” environment of Olympic qualification was affecting her.
She wrote to Archery Australia, the sport’s governing body, to complain about Barnard’s “unsporting” conduct and admitted to the court that she wanted her rival disciplined over the incidents.
Barnard’s lawyer Grant Butterfield, accused her of “gamesmanship” tactics, adding that: “Mr Barnard watching you… put you off; in London there will be a few thousand people watching.”
Magistrate Lee Gilmour urged the pair to try to put their rivalry aside and slated the matter to return to court on June 8, three days before the final Olympic qualifying event in Utah in the United States.