800m runner Gareth Warburton wins his appeal to represent Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics
Following the Team GB announcement earlier this week, 11 individual appeals were made to the British Olympic Association as athletes tried to convince selectors that they were worthy of a spot on the team, but only one – Gareth Warburton – was successful.
The 800m runner, who has this year slashed his PB from 1:46.47 to 1:44.98, had only achieved the ‘A’ standard once this year, which fell short of the required two ‘A’ standards as stipulated by UK Athletics.
But Warburton satisfied the entry criteria as set by the IAAF, which requires athletes to only achieve one qualifying standard between May last year and July this year. His 1:45.80, set in the heats of last week’s European Championships, fell an agonising 0.2 short of the ‘A’ standard, but was well within the ‘B’ standard.
“I am absolutely delighted to have been selected to Team GB to represent my country at our home Olympic Games,” said Warburton, who will now join the 77 track and field athletes previously selected to complete the Team GB athletics line-up.
“This is an incredible opportunity for me and I intend to make the most of it. I am joining a fantastic team of athletes and we’re all focused on doing Britain proud this summer.”
But other athletes were not so fortunate. Fellow 800m runners Jemma Simpson, Emma Jackson and Marilyn Okoro had also lodged appeals over their controversial non-selection, while 200m sprinter Richard Kilty and discus thrower Jade Nicholls did likewise over their exclusion. All were unsuccessful.
“We appreciate that this is a difficult time for athletes who were not selected to Team GB,” said UKA chairman Ed Warner, who was chair of the appeals panel. “Appeals are heard on a matter of process and facts and not opinion and the panel considered 11 appeals today of which only Gareth’s was successful.
“We ensure that the original selection committee has followed the selection criteria appropriately and have made their decisions based on full and correct facts. In the case of Gareth Warburton and in light of independent legal advice, the appeals panel decided that the combination of Warburton’s current A and current B standards made him selectable under the UKA selection policy and he has been added to the team.”