Olympic team builds slowly as tough selection policy pushes hopefuls
Sydney Morning Herald
March 7, 2012
ATHLETICS AUSTRALIA has stuck to a strong line on selection adding just 17 names to its existing team of eight for London, including only athletes that had achieved an A qualifying standard.
The athletics team has now been stretched to 25, with more names to be added by the June 11 cut-off.
After the weekend's Olympic trials in Melbourne, athletes who performed well and won, but without an A-standard result, were added if they had previously had an A-standard. Thus, promising stars like pole vaulters Alana Boyd and Liz Parnov have now joined the team along with hurdling prospect Lauren Boden.
No marathon runners have been included as a series of marathons next month could shape selection but Benita Willis and Lisa Weightman are certain to be added in May.
The relay teams have not yet been included, which will significantly alter numbers, but several athletes who already had an A-qualifier and finished in the top two at the trials in difficult conditions were added. So 1500-metre runners Zoe Buckman and Kaila McKnight, who ran first and second in Melbourne, are both in.
Ryan Gregson, who won the 1500 after overcoming injury, was not included, as he is yet to record an A-qualifying time. He is expected to do so before June 11 and make the team.
Despite being beaten by Craig Mottram on Saturday night, Collis Birmingham was named in the team yesterday having already run A-qualifying times.
Youcef Abdi (NSW, 3000m steeplechase), Brendan Cole (ACT, 400m hurdles), Henry Frayne (Qld, triple jump), Mottram (Vic, 5000m) and Jeff Riseley (Vic, 800m) were all automatic selections after winning their events either in A-qualifiers or after having already recorded two A-qualifiers prior to the trials.
Abdi, who had several A-qualifiers before Saturday night's win ensured his selection, suffered a minor hamstring tear during the race, nursed his leg home and still won.
Frayne, as expected, was named in the long and triple jumps and will become the first Australian since Ian Tomlinson in 1964 to compete in both at an Olympic Games.
However, veteran runner Lee Troop has abandoned hopes of a fourth Olympic marathon after he was forced to pull out of a marathon in Japan at the weekend.
Team so far:
Jeff Riseley (800m), Craig Mottram, Collis Birmingham (5000m), Ben St Lawrence (10,000m), Brendan Cole (400m hurdles), Youcef Abdi (3000m steeplechase), Jared Tallent (20km walk), Jared Tallent, Luke Adams, Nathan Deakes (50km walk), Mitchell Watt, Henry Frayne (long jump), Henry Frayne (triple jump), Jarrod Bannister (javelin), Benn Harradine, Julian Wruck (discus).
Zoe Buckman, Kaila McKnight (1500m), Sally Pearson (100m hurdles), Lauren Boden (400m hurdles), Claire Tallent, Regan Lamble, Beki Lee (20km walk), Alana Boyd, Liz Parnov (pole vault), Kim Mickle (javelin), Dani Samuels (discus).