Sharp Is Sole British Female 800m Olympian

Lynsey Sharp is Britain's only hope for a women's 800m Olympic medal. Photo: Zimbio

The selectors decided to stack the 1500m squad instead.

By David Monti
(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

(03-Jul) — The British Olympic Association released the names of their track and field athletes for the London Games today, and Trials winner and European Championships silver medalist Lynsey Sharp was the only athlete named to the 800m squad. That decision was made despite the fact that two other athletes, Marilyn Okoro and Emma Jackson, had achieved the Olympic Games “A” standard of 1:59.90 this year (Okoro three times) while Sharp had not. Okoro was, however, named instead for the 4 x 400m squad.

By contrast, the selectors chose to nominate a full team for the women’s 1500m led by 2011 world championships silver medalist Hannah England, who did not take part in the recent British Trials to allow more time for a spike wound to her Achilles to heal. Laura Weightman and Lisa Dobriskey, who finished first and second, respectively, in the British Trials, were also named to the team. The third-fastest Briton this year, Charlene Thomas, was bypassed. All three athletes possess the Olympic Games “A” standard of 4:06.00 (Dobriskey ran hers last season).

Jo Pavey, Julia Bleasdale and Barbara Parker were named to the 5000m team. Pavey, who was bumped off of the marathon squad by Claire Hallissey then won the silver medal at last weekend’s European Championships, will also run the 10,000m. Parker will also run in the 3000m steeplechase, the event in which she holds the British record.  Eilish McColgan, daughter of the legendary Liz McColgan, was tapped for the steeplechase squad, yet Hattie Archer –the former Hattie Dean who did not advance out of her heat at last weekend’s European Championships– did not make the team.

The men’s distance squad will be led by reigning world 5000m champion and 10,000m silver medalist, Mo Farah, who will run both of those events at the Olympics. He’ll be joined in the 5000m by a resurgent Nick McCormick, and in the longer race by 2010 European Championships 10,000m silver medalist Chris Thompson.  Farah ran the British Trials in the 1500m (he raced in the preliminary round, only), then won the European title at 5000m.  McCormick was second at the Trials, while Thompson skipped the meet with back trouble.

Andrew Osagie and Michael Rimmer were named to the 800m squad, and Ross Murray and Andy Baddeley will contest the 1500m. Stuart Stokes was the lone man named for the steeplechase.

Scott Overall, Lee Merrien, David Webb, Paula Radcliffe, Mara Yamauchi and Claire Hallissey had been previously named to the marathon team.

Charles Van Commenee, the team’s head coach, said in a prepared statement: “I am very proud to have nominated such as strong team of athletes to Team GB. 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.”

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