King heading to Rio?

Add Barbados’ tennis ace Darian King to the list of athletes who will be representing Barbados at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Barbados’ top tennis player posted tonight on his facebook page that he had been given a wildcard entry into the August 5 to 21 Games by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Efforts to contact him tonight were unsuccessful.

King, who has been Barbados’ top Davis Cup player in recent years, returned to the court in April in the Hellenic Zeus ITF Futures Tournament in Greece after recovering from injury.

Then last month he was in action in the Abierto International Varonil Pachuca Tournament in Mexico where he and partner Ruben Gonzales took the ITF doubles crown.

However, if King does play in Rio, his wild card entry would suggest there has been a change in the policy of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

In April the IOC stated it would not offer any wild cards for the tennis events at this year’s Rio Olympics. ITF secretary general Juan Margets had also indicated that no national association could apply for wild cards.

“We have received several enquiries regarding applications for wild cards for the Olympic Tennis Event and I wanted to take this opportunity to once more clarify that wild cards do not exist in the Olympic Tennis Event,” Margets said in a statement.

He added: “In previous Olympic Games the ITF had a degree of discretionary oversight on the allocation of Final Qualification Places (ITF Places), which might have been considered similar to the concept of wild cards in other events.

“Now, in line with International Olympic Committee requirements, this has changed for Rio 2016. While Final Qualification Places remain, they are now allocated strictly according to the criteria outlined in the Qualification System.

“The ITF has no discretionary power to allocate Final Qualification Places and consequently national associations cannot apply for Final Qualification Places (or wild cards),” Margets clarified.

The 24-year-old King is currently ranked 224 in the world in singles.

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