http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/more-sports/relay-team-chases-olympic-berth-in-philadelphia/story-e6frey6i-1226337296903I have posted the following article as it ties in with the result at the Penn Relays. While the Aussie team did beat Grenada & Nigeria, it failed to run a time that would elevate it into the top 16.
It (Hursty's article) basically puts in a nutshell the Aussie relay dilemma. We need a time around low 3-03 to 3-04 very soon or there will be no Australian men's 4 x 400m team in London. Given our recent history of success in major champs, that would be devastating for our top 400m athletes. Relay team chases Olympic berth in Philadelphia Mike Hurst
The Daily Telegraph
April 24, 20124:57PM
An allegedly under-strength Australian 4x400m team will take on most of the nations that stand between them and Olympic selection at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, this weekend.
The top 16 countries, ranked on the aggregate of their two fastest relay times since last year, automatically qualify to compete at the London Olympic Games from July 27-August 12.Australia currently sits 17th - one place outside the eligible pool - because the 3min 01.56sec run at last year's world championships in Daegu, Korea, was poorly supported by a back-up performance of 3:05.84 run in Brisbane on January 15.
This was scheduled far too early in the domestic season for most top 400m sprinters to be near top speed, especially given the Olympic Trials were in March and the nationals in mid-April.So Australia has an aggregate time of 6:07.40, just ahead of Grenada (6:08.96) and Nigeria (6:10.25).
At least one of the problems for Australia at the historic Penn Relays will be that both Grenada and Nigeria have entered teams - and Grenada boasts two of the Daegu world championship individual 400m finalists including the phenomenal teenager gold medallist Kirani James.
Nigeria tend to be unsophisticated in their preparation but an athletics powerhouse, notable in men's 4x400m for knocking Australia's national record holding team off the podium to grab bronze at the 1984 Olympics, inheriting the gold after the US were disqualified for doping at the Sydney Olympics and then winning bronze behind Australia's Silver Bullets at the Athens Olympics.
Of the teams currently standing between Australia and the Olympics, only South Africa, Russia, Britain, Cuba, Poland, France and Japan will be absent from Penn which has attracted crowds of 50,000 per day in recent years.
Britain and Russia are probably safe, but along with Poland and France will very much benefit from the opportunity presented by the European Championships in Helsinki, June 27-July 1.
Thanks to his relationship with the Penn organisers and Nike USA, Nic Bideau has made all arrangements to facilitate this Australian team qualifying bid. Nike USA is paying airfares and accommodation for the five Australian sprinters.
The Australian squad includes NSWIS 400m Fast Track project training partners Kevin Moore and Matt Lynch, both personally coached by Larry Spencer on the NSW Central Coast. National titleholder Steve Solomon from Sydney, former national champion Ben Offereins from Perth and young Queenslander Alex Beck, coached by 1984 OLympic heptathlon gold medallist Glynis Nunn-Cearns.
Although this is his first senior international competition, Beck is likely to start the relay, running the only protected leg where runners must stay within their own lane. The likely sequence then may be Offereins to Solomon with Moore anchoring.
Including Saudi Arabia, there are 13 nations entered for the Penn 4x400m, with the USA fielding two outstanding teams. It is expected there will be two timed finals and the heats have yet to be drawn.
Familiar names missing from the Penn team are John Steffensen, who was injured running at the Stawell Gift a week before the national championships, and Sean Wroe whose appendix burst last week.
However Steffensen did not run in either of the relay teams which put Australia on the verge of Olympic qualification, and Wroe split a very slow 47.5sec anchor leg in Brisbane but for which there may not have been the imperative to compete at Penn this weekend.