UKA selection panel makes late addition to GB Olympic marathon team with Lee Merrien, the top Brit in London
The British Olympic Association announced today that Lee Merrien has been added to Team GB to compete in the men’s marathon at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Merrien was the first British man home in last weekend’s Virgin London Marathon in a personal best time of 2:13.41. His time fell short of the 2:12 qualifying standard that had been set by UK Athletics and he was not included in the team that was named earlier this week.
The IAAF had set a qualifying guideline of 2:15 for the marathon, but UKA had tightened it to 2:12, meaning Merrien had missed out by just under two minutes.
His non-selection led to an outcry among the athletics community, with many voicing their opinions on twitter and in blog pieces, while a “Select Lee Merrien” page was set up on Facebook.
The Guernsey athlete appealed through the formal UK Athletics appeal process and his appeal was unsuccessful. But the selection panel was asked to reconsider if exceptional circumstances existed, as it could under the policy.
The UKA selection panel therefore reconvened and following consideration of all relevant facts and using its expert opinion, exercised its discretion to nominate Lee Merrien to the BOA.
“I am absolutely delighted to have been selected and I’d like to thank the selection panel for recognising the nature of my run at the weekend,” said Merrien. “I am now on a short rest break with my family and then I will resume training as I aim to put in my best ever performance in London.”
He will join Scott Overall and Dave Webb on the men’s marathon team, while the women’s team comprises Paula Radcliffe, Mara Yamauchi and Claire Hallissey.