Tom Ashley and Jon-Paul Tobin are contenders for an Olympic gold medal but under the qualification rules only one athlete per country can contest the class. Ashley is the defending Olympic champion but Tobin is the form athlete this year; he is also fuelled with ambition, having been in and out of Ashley's shadow during the last two Games cycles.
The qualification criteria laid down by Yachting New Zealand is confidential but a decision is understood to be at the discretion of the three-person selection panel. They will largely base the call around three events: the Sail for Gold regatta at the Olympic course off Weymouth in June, the pre-Olympic regatta at the same venue in August and the world championships next month.
If Tobin is the winner between the two in Perth he should secure the London nod regardless of Ashley's pedigree. If Ashley beats Tobin, the decision is likely to go in the defending champion's favour and Tobin - a former world No 1 - will face the cruel reality of a successful career devoid of a Games.
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