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GB Olympic Team

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GB Olympic Team

Postby Guto Nyth Bran » Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:02 pm

Dave Webb and Clare Hallisey confirmed for Olympic marathon.
Joining Radcliffe, Yamaguchi and Overall.
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby sidelined » Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:15 pm

So, Freya Murray is not named as a reserve, even though Paula and Mara are both injury-prone. UKA could have chosen to Pick Lee Merrien, since he's inside the IOC's standard (and faster than Dave Webb), but no doubt they don't want to send that kind of signal to everyone else who is striving for the A standard in other events.
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby trickstat » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:20 pm

It doesn't seem to be usual policy to publish the name of a reserve. Hopefully, the relevant athletes have been advised that there is still a chance they'll end up in the Olympics.

The women's squad is made up of an Oxford graduate (MY), a Cambridge graduate (CH) and a Loughborough modern languages graduate who is fluent in French and German (PR). A riposte to those ignorant types who think that sportspeople tend to be academically challenged. Not that anybody viewing this board is going to be one of those people! :)
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby AllanW » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:49 pm

trickstat wrote:The women's squad is made up of an Oxford graduate (MY), a Cambridge graduate (CH) and a Loughborough modern languages graduate who is fluent in French and German (PR). A riposte to those ignorant types who think that sportspeople tend to be academically challenged. Not that anybody viewing this board is going to be one of those people! :)


Certainly not; bravo.

Mind you, most of us are equally unfazed by the fact of graduate degree awards no matter where from as they offer no guarantee of the possession of interest or intellect by the graduate and sometimes no guarantee of academic capability either. In much the same way that Yasser Arafat was awarded the Nobel Peace prize and Bush junior graduated from Yale University and Harvard Business School, peculiar decisions are constantly made so any bald appeal to authority is easily greeted with muted applause.
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby usedtoit33 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:15 pm

I have a lot of sympathy for Lee Merrien. I really want him to compete in London. The thing is, if you open it up to one person who hasn't met the required standard, do you open it to all? Are we sending (and no offence to Lee) the best team who'll compete on the big stage or not?

Whether you agree or not, the implication of the qualification guidelines set by UKA is having the best team, not the biggest.

Personally, emotionally I think Lee Merrien should be selected, but rationally my head says no. It's really tough. And I don't think that the Olympics these days are necessarily about 'taking part', unfortunately.
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby mump boy » Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:45 pm

It would be great if everyone qualified got selected but does some who's time would have been ranked the wrong side of 300th (it may have been 400th but i lost count !!) last year really deserve a place.

I can't really feel sorry for someone who can't run 2.12, a time that number of Uk runners could run 40 years ago :(
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby Guto Nyth Bran » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:34 pm

usedtoit33 wrote:I have a lot of sympathy for Lee Merrien. I really want him to compete in London. The thing is, if you open it up to one person who hasn't met the required standard, do you open it to all? Are we sending (and no offence to Lee) the best team who'll compete on the big stage or not?

Whether you agree or not, the implication of the qualification guidelines set by UKA is having the best team, not the biggest.

Personally, emotionally I think Lee Merrien should be selected, but rationally my head says no. It's really tough. And I don't think that the Olympics these days are necessarily about 'taking part', unfortunately.


BBC are reporting that Lee Merrien has been added to the team.
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby Geoff » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:35 pm

Marathon runner Merrien added to GB Olympic teamUKA selection panel makes late addition to GB Olympic marathon team with Lee Merrien, the top Brit in London

See AW homepage for further details of discretionary selection.

It begs the question as to whether other athletes not meeting the UKA criteria but who have the IAAF qualifying standards may be added later this summer? For example those with only 'A' standards from last year or only one 'B' standard instead of two.
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby Geoff » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:51 pm

One thought that crossed my mind about the Olympic marathon team is, and there are caveats, we have a female runner who has a personal best that is better than one of the men! The caveats are she was phenominal and ahead of her time and the male ran his in the heat of Daegu. I can't see any other event where this will happen.

Also, I think the Merrien decision indicates we will be aiming for as big a team as possible with scope to include athletes who don't quite make the UKA qualifying criteria. I believe our criteria is far too elaborate although I understand some of the reasoning behind it.
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby sidelined » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:06 pm

I think the marathon is a special case, because it's one of the few events that are free, there will - with any luck - be massive, enthusiastic crowds, and they will want to support anyone in a British vest. Giving them two, not three, would be to shortchange them. Add the fact that Merrien is faster than Webb and that none of them have a hope of being anywhere near the business end of the race and in just seems churlish to exclude him. Also, marathon running is the one sport that thousands - hundreds of thousands - of ordinary people actually participate in. So when it comes to the much-vaunted legacy, Merrien could turn into some kind of folk hero and be far more of an inspiration to people to get active than a gold medal winner in an obscure sport.
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby mump boy » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:10 pm

I have always advocated selecting as big a team as possible BUT this sets a poor precedent coming so early in the season. There is now less of an incentive to aim for the A criteria as everyone knows you can just appeal and get included. I heard that UKA turned down the appeal but BOA over ruled, is this correct ?

I can't imagine CVC being very happy. I would have preferred a quiet word in Merrien's ear that his selection would be announced along with the rest of the team (which will inevitably include everyone possible)
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby sidelined » Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:13 pm

mump boy wrote:I have always advocated selecting as big a team as possible BUT this sets a poor precedent coming so early in the season. There is now less of an incentive to aim for the A criteria as everyone knows you can just appeal and get included. I heard that UKA turned down the appeal but BOA over ruled, is this correct ?

I can't imagine CVC being very happy. I would have preferred a quiet word in Merrien's ear that his selection would be announced along with the rest of the team (which will inevitably include everyone possible)


Mump boy, selecting Merrien but not announcing it would have been an elegant solution, except that if the BOA did lean on UKA it might have been to avoid a storm of bad PR. Those 3,000 people supporting Merrien on Facebook might have swung it for him. The UKA statement says:

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.


That certainly sounds like the panel had their arms twisted, and as if some of the 'relevant facts' weren't to do with Merrien's performance.
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby Geoff » Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:27 pm

It is being suggested the exceptional circumstances were running into a headwind in the second half of the race and running in isolation. Not sure whether the BOA had a hand in this but the appeal committee appear to have referred it back to the selection committee. This is similar to Jemma Simpson's failed appeal for funding last year but, of course, they could not find ant exceptional reasons on that occasion.

I cannot believe a headwind and running in isolation would be the only reasons for the 'U' turn. Someone, somewhere must have had a word!

I am not against Lee Merrien being selected and hope he can run sub 2.12 on the day which might be top 15. It does, though, despite UKA saying otherwise offer a precedent for other appeals.
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby mump boy » Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:03 am

Kelly Sotherton things this has 'opened a can of worms' and i agree

CVC has had a specific policy over the last few years of making people reach a team standard which sets the bar high and leaves no room for excuses at the champs and it's been working. He didn't want to take people along for the ride as people going out in the first round sets the tone for the rest of the team. This sets an even worse precedent as now people don't even have to reach the QT standards, they can just claim some spurious 'exceptional circumstance' at appeal and get a place.

There are many people over the last few years who have been unfairly denied a place at a major champs Lee Merrien would not have been one of them, he reached precisely none of the criteria for selection
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby fangio » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:27 am

The "into the wind solo second half" excuse doesn't do it for me. Merrien ran the first half slower than 2.13 pace and has a history of dropping a minute over the second half in London, so I don't think missing 2.12 had anything to do with the wind and solo running.
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby Blindfaith » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:02 am

Sorry if I am missing the point but is there not an "A" and " B" standard as per the qualifying rules on UKA website and Mr Merrien did achieve the "B" standard (twice) during the qualifying period...

http://www.uka.org.uk/world-class/2012- ... -policies/

So why is there all the fuss over it????
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby Blindfaith » Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:03 am

OK forget my last comment....just noted something in the policy about "B" standards....
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby Geoff » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:40 am

Mike Rowbottom: Team GB’s latest Olympic marathon selection is a case of the more the Merrien

So the UK Athletics selection panel has now decided that, as far as the British men's marathon team at London 2012 is concerned, it is a case of the more the Merrien.

The news that Lee Merrien who concluded last Sunday's Virgin London Marathon with his face contorted in pain and frustration having narrowly failed to achieve the UKA A qualifying standard of 2hr 12min 00sec can now look forward to a return to the streets of the capital for the greatest show on earth has been welcomed exuberantly by many of the 3,000 or so supporters who endorsed a Facebook campaign for his inclusion.

.....So what were those circumstances? I understand the decision was effectively a cumulative one rather than something which turned upon a single point. Among the arguments Merrien was able to adduce in his favour were the following:

He had won the main trial race, and effectively a national title, in a time which, had he been a runner anywhere else in the world, would have qualified him for London 2012 as it was inside the IAAF A qualifying standard.

He was only two places, and 22 seconds, outside the qualifying criteria at the Daegu World Championships.

Unusually, there was a headwind blowing into the faces of this year's elite London Marathon runners for 80 per cent of their race. When they turned for home near Canary Wharf expecting to get the benefit having withstood the elements for much of their journey out, the wind changed direction. This clearly impacted upon times.

What is understood to have made "not a blind bit of notice" to the selectors was the Facebook campaign.

......By its nature, the Olympic marathon is going to be one of the most accessible of events taking place at London 2012. For thousands of home spectators, it is likely to be the only chance they have to see the Olympics actually happening first hand.

So why not take the opportunity to give them another home runner to cheer on. Nobody was ever pretending that Lee Merrien has a chance of winning the Olympic marathon title. But nobody is pretending that Lee Merrien will win the Olympic marathon title either. So why not take the opportunity to give a home crowd another home runner to cheer on? Good decision.

http://www.insidethegames.biz/blogs/16751
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby Geoff » Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:05 am

UKA must have discussed the implications of selecting Lee Merrien regarding future selections. Their criteria is full of add-ons to the IAAF qualifying standards and include:

1. Current 'A' standards being from April 1 this year
2. Two 'B' standards
3. Restricted domestic events

I will not go into the whole elaborate qualifying criteria where top 8 finishes in major championships and such like add to the complexity. Of course, there is still the catch-all of Head Coach's discretion!

A few possible scenarios;
1. A male hammer thrower throws only one 'B' standard but wins the trials. His throw in Birmingham is just short of the 'B' standard but appeals that the infield is uphill. Also Lee Merrien was selected despite not meeting the UKA criteria.
2. A female shot putter throws a second 'B' standard at a Midland League fixture and argues it was a legitimate performance at a UKA licensed facility with UKA licensed officials. Also Lee Merrien was selected despite not meeting the UKA criteria.
3. A javelin thrower reaches the 'A' standard this year and is selected. Another, who has several current 'B' standards argues that an 'A' standard from last year at a domestic event not on the UKA list should count. Also Lee Merrien was selected despite not meeting the UKA criteria.

The point, obviously, is the Lee Merrien decision opens up the opportunity to disregard the UKA criteria and base some selection decisions on whether they meet the IAAF criteria.
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby MarkC » Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:29 am

Have they actually disregarded the criteria?

The selection document appears to be very careful in the places it refers to UKA A/B standards. This would imply an intentional distinction in the document between these and the standards simply referred to as A/B standards, which one would assume to be the IAAF marks (e.g. in point 5). If there isn't an intentional distinction then it's sloppy wording in the policy.

So Lee has a UKA B standard which satisfies the marathon criteria in point 8 and an A standard to satisfy the caveats in points 5 and 16, no?

Which part of the selection policy has been broken?
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby boysen » Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:04 pm

My paper says that UKA used their "expertise" to revise thoughts and include Merrien. Why should that make me smile?
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby sidelined » Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:47 pm

Geoff, surely the key difference between Merrien's case and the hypothetical ones you cite is that Merrien achieved two IAAF A standards during the selection period. UKA's standard was higher. In the field events, UKA's standards are the same as the IAAF's so there is far less room for latitude. On the track UKA usually only imposes a higher standard than the IAAF when the domestic standard in an event is high. But the standard in the men's marathon is distressingly low.

I hope Merrien's selection doesn't set a precedent. One reason for thinking that it won't is that in every other event athletes have more chances to get it right. If an athlete has competed 10 or 15 times and hasn't got it right then...tough.
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby Geoff » Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:09 pm

sidelined wrote:Geoff, surely the key difference between Merrien's case and the hypothetical ones you cite is that Merrien achieved two IAAF A standards during the selection period. UKA's standard was higher. In the field events, UKA's standards are the same as the IAAF's so there is far less room for latitude. On the track UKA usually only imposes a higher standard than the IAAF when the domestic standard in an event is high. But the standard in the men's marathon is distressingly low.

I hope Merrien's selection doesn't set a precedent. One reason for thinking that it won't is that in every other event athletes have more chances to get it right. If an athlete has competed 10 or 15 times and hasn't got it right then...tough.


Sidelined, you may right about the exceptional reasons and perhaps it won't set a precedent. I do expect a news release from UKA explaining their decision and stressing this does not mean a relaxation of the criteria. However, if push comes to shove at selection time just wait for this to be raised by athletes and all sorts of exceptional circumstances will be put forward.

With regards to MarkC I think the criteria are reasonably clear, although over-elaborate, and a 'B' standard can't be selected if there are already 'A' standard athletes. It takes some reading though!

Finally, good luck to Lee and pleased he's made the team - by whatever route!
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby MarkC » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:31 pm

Geoff, I've given it some reading.

From an IAAF perspective, Lee is an A standard athlete. He doesn't have a UKA A standard. Point 5b in the selection policy, which I think is what you refer to, is about the number of athletes UKA can technically select given IAAF rules. There's nothing there in principle to stop Lee being selected.

It's a pedantic and now slightly academic point, but if UKA had intended the policy to reflect that no people holding only UKA B standards would be selected if there were UKA A standard athletes, it should have said that.
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Re: GB Olympic Team

Postby alex800 » Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:56 pm

So, Paula Radcliffe is out. I daren't say we saw this one coming. Does this mean that Freya Murray will be running?
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