Marathon runner Merrien added to GB Olympic team

UKA selection panel makes late addition to GB Olympic marathon team with Lee Merrien, the top Brit in London

Posted on April 27, 2012 by
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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.

7 Responses to “Marathon runner Merrien added to GB Olympic team”

  1. Ian says:

    Fantastic news! I'm really glad.

  2. Kevin O'Neill says:

    The selectors have, belatedly, made a sensible decision. The UK should select as large a team as possible for a home Olympics, so long as the athlete(s) in question are not absurdly outclassed. In this case, whilst 2.13 is not up there with the very best, it has to be remembered that Kenya and Ethiopia can only select three athletes for each event. And the marathon is an especially unpredictable event and, almost. anything can happen. Remember Ian Thompson, an apparent 'scrubber' who came from nowhere to win the Commonwealth and European titles,

  3. Jonathan says:

    Fantastic news! I'm so glad that common sense prevailed and that UKA and the BOA were strong enough to admit that they were wrong and do the right thing. I'm also glad that this got sorted so quickly, so that Merrien and the rest of the team can get their heads down and concentrate on the task at hand. Hallisey, Merrien, Overall, Radcliffe, Webb, Yamauchi – as it should be.

  4. Matt says:

    Great news, stoked for him.

  5. Frank Messina says:

    In the history of athletics British selectors are famous for their blunders. The present ones needed our pressure to make the right decision. Incredible! I agree with Kevin that UKA and BOA should select as large a team as possible: London is a unique opportunity in the life of many athletes.

  6. houseygirl says:

    Brilliant news that Lee Merrien has been selected for Team GB – UKA have made the right decision. I applaud them it takes a brave person to change their mind. I am so glad we have a full team of three to cheer at London 2012. This will be a special event, that all can attend, it will be marvellous to see Team GB athletes in action. Plus UKA will have 3 Olympians to inspire young athletes and school children.

    • Jimbo says:

      I have completely the opposite view and I believe sets a bad precident for other selections. At a personel level it is great news for Lee but a bad decision for all athletes on the following basis –

      1) Creates a precidence for other events; from what I can see of mens athletics at the moment from 400M – Marathon there are not 3 clear selections with A std times. Consider a young athlete who comes 2nd in the 1,500M trials and misses the A std by 0.8 sec's – does he go???? Some would argue the precidence created through this decision means Yes???

      2) I am dissapointed in Mr Van Commenee – he talks a good story and evidently does appear to have turned some elements of our sport around – but he has allowed a good runner to run at the pinnicle of the sport when not achieveing the A standard for the Marathon. Last time I checked a 2:13 marathon runner would finish 10 mins behind the world lead; which in distance terms is about 2 miles at the pace those guys go!!!

      I could go on; in sumamry great news for Lee and I would have accepted a place in his circumstance but bad news for athletics in the UK.

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