Meadows must rely on mercy of selectors

800m runner has 'no more tears to give' but still holds out hope for Olympics

For Helen Clitheroe, the unlikely Thirtysomething golden girl of British athletics in 2011, the door to Olympic selection slammed cruelly shut in Helsinki yesterday. As for Jenny Meadows, another Lancastrian stalwart of the sport, having missed her opportunity to sup at the last-chance saloon of the European Championships, she has been left outside with a begging bowl, relying on the mercy of the selectors.

Winner of the European indoor 3,000m title at the age of 37 last year, Clitheroe has been suffering from a foot injury since the 2012 indoor season and her hopes of making the home team for the London Olympics came to grief in the 5,000m final in the Finnish capital yesterday. Needing an A standard Olympic qualifying time of 15min 20sec, the Preston Harrier finished almost half a minute shy, crossing the line down in 16th place in 15min 49.13sec.

"I'd set myself a massive target after stepping back on the track after a nightmare few months," Clitheroe reflected. "I had plantar fasciitis, which is something I have still been managing coming into this. It is frustrating but I'm not the only athlete to have a disappointing 2012."

The two automatic places in the women's 5,000m were claimed by Jo Pavey and Barbara Parker at the trials meeting in Birmingham last weekend, and the final discretionary place now looks to be between Steph Twell and Julia Bleasdale. Twell, who ran in the Olympic 1500m heats as an 18-year-old in 2008, has an A standard clocking from earlier in the season but decided not to risk a foot problem after warming up for the final in Helsinki yesterday. Bleasdale – like Pavey, already in the qualifying frame for the 10,000m – finished fourth with a new personal best of 15:12.77 and could be offered the chance to contest both events at the Games.

As for Meadows, she will have to rely on her past reputation as a world-class 800m runner, having withdrawn from the field for the semi-finals of her event after aggravating a long-term Achilles problem on the flight out to Finland. The 31-year-old Wiganer has not raced yet in 2012 but insists she is "incredibly fit" thanks to a punishing training regime that has featured the use of an anti-gravity treadmill and a hyperbaric chamber.

The selectors have a discretionary place open to them and Meadows says she will lodge an appeal if her past record as a world championship medal winner outdoors and in does not prove sufficient to claim it, in tandem with the A standard qualifying times she recorded in 2011. "I would appeal," she said. "You've got to do everything. It's the Olympic Games. It's not a hobby. It's a profession. It's literally my life.

"I've put myself through the unbelievable stress and strenuous training for just one reason, and that's to compete in Stratford. I would be absolutely devastated to miss out. When I pulled out [head coach] Charles van Commenee was surprised there were no tears but I said I've got none left.

"I guess I would definitely find some, but knowing my gutsy personality and determination I would be out to prove myself as the best British athlete by the end of the season and say, 'Look what I could have done'."

The women's selection scenario is as clear as mud. Lynsey Sharp, winner at the trials, finished runner-up in her semi-final and needs an A standard 1min 59.90sec in tonight's final.

In the men's 100m final yesterday Harry Aikines-Aryeetey missed the A standard of 10.18sec, clocking 10.31sec in fourth. Christophe Lemaitre retained his title in 10.09sec, pipping his French team-mate Jimmy Vicaut by 0.03sec.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Recruitment Genius: Inside Sales Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Join a worldwide leader in data-driven marketi...

Recruitment Genius: Business Adviser - Sales and Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a desire to help sm...

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Support - Helpdesk Analyst

£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a customer focu...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn