Drugs cheats Chambers and Myerscough in but no place for Meadows
Tuesday, 03 July 2012
July 3 - Dwain Chambers, who at times admitted he gave up hope of competing at London 2012, was today named in Team GB, along with another former drugs cheat, Carl Myersough, in a squad of 77 athletes set the target of winning at least eight Olympic medals, including one gold.
The most controversial of selections, however, surrounded the women's 800 metres where four runners with the A Qualifying standard have been ignored in favour of Lynsey Sharp, a Scot who is selected on the B mark after winning the silver medal at the European Championships in Helsinki last week.
Jenny Meadows, the world and European silver medallist, had already promised that she would launch an appeal if she was left out although she has not competed for 11 months because of injury.
Marilyn Okoro, another one of the 800m runners overlooked, tweeted "I quit" despite having been named as a member of the 4x400m relay squad.
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules mean an athlete who has achieved the B standard can only be selected if there are no A standard athletes in that event are picked.
Sharp, the daughter of former sprinter Cameron, who competed for Britain at the Moscow Olympics in 1980, appears to have got the nod because she is seen as a racer rather than a time trialist, having also won the official UK trials at Birmingham last month, beating her main rivals.
Britain's head coach Charles Van Commenee had admitted in Helsinki on Sunday night (July 1) that he would "never forget" the finish Sharp produced to come from seventh to second in the 800m, and that the selection was going to be the most difficult area for the selectors.
"I'm not looking forward to it." he added.
The decision to select Chambers for the 100m and 4x100m relay squad was almost a foregone conclusion once the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled in April that the British Olympic Association's (BOA) lifetime ban on doping offenders was illegal and that they had to lift it.
"It is a real honour to be selected as part of Team GB today," said Chambers, who, at 34, will be making his first apperance in the Olympics since finishing fourth in Sydney 12 years ago.
"For me representing my country in an Olympics is a privilege that should never be taken for granted.
"To be given the opportunity to do so in my home town has been a dream that at times has seemed very distant and is now a reality.
"It is now my responsibility to prepare fully for the 100m, the relay, to support all my fellow athletes and all my other colleagues within Team GB.
"It is a very proud day and I thank the selectors for the confidence and faith they have placed in me."
Chambers is joined in the 100m by teenager Adam Gemili, who is the team's youngest competitor at 18, and James Dasaolu.
Myerscough's positive test for a cocktail of banned anabolic steroids in 1999 pre-dates Chambers and at 32 he will be making his Olympic debut.
His selection follows a late dash from the European Championships, where he failed to qualify for the final of the shot put and was beaten by a rival in the discus.
But his research uncovered a little-known athletics meeting in Estonia, 50 miles from Team GB's base in the Finnish capital.
He boarded a ferry, competed in the event on Sunday (July 1) and his 20.13 metres throw in the shot surpassed the Olympic B standard.
This ambitious target of eight medals would not only double the four medals won in Beijing, but would represent Team GB's best result since Seoul 1988 when a squad featuring Daley Thompson, Linford Christie, Colin Jackson and Steve Cram won eight medals in total, but no gold medals.
It is the largest athletes squad since Barcelona in 1992 and nine larger than the team of 68 that was sent to Beijing four years ago.
The biggest hopes of success are Mo Farah in the 5,000m and Jessica Ennis in the heptathlon, while world 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene will be a contender if he can regain full fitness in time after injury.
"I am very proud to have nominated such as strong team of athletes to Team GB," said Van Commenee.
"Our collective philosophy since Beijing has been one of raising the bar as we work towards London 2012.
"I believe this team is well prepared to go out there, be competitive and achieve on the greatest sporting stage in front of a home crowd."
Andy Hunt, Team GB's Chef de Mission, is backing the team to be successful.
"The progress the athletics squad has made since the last Olympics in Beijing is phenomenal," he said.
"With a record medal haul of nine medals at the World Indoor Championships [in Istanbul] earlier this year, they have a fantastic opportunity to produce something special as part of Team GB this summer.
"With the passionate and enthusiastic vocal support of the 80,000 strong home crowd behind them, I have every confidence that our track and field athletes will rise to the occasion and inspire many future generations with their exploits on the track, and in the field."
To read the full squad click here.
June 2012: Chambers set to become second British doping offender allowed back into Olympic team
June 2012: Chambers colourfully lets off steam after winning 100m at GB Olympic trials
May 2012: Chambers finishes off-the-pace sixth in first 100m race since ban lifted
April 2012: Jarrett says Chambers return will make Team GB "very strong"
April 2012: Moynihan laments "hollow victory" for WADA after CAS overturns ban on drugs cheats