Team GB's Lynsey Sharp misses out 800m final


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The Independent Online

Scotland's Lynsey Sharp, the subject of Britain's biggest athletics selection controversy, tonight failed to make the Olympic final of the women's 800 metres.

Sharp, the daughter of former Olympic sprinter Cameron Sharp, won the Olympic trials and claimed silver in the European Championships in Helsinki, but did not have the 'A' qualifying time, unlike Marilyn Okoro, Jenny Meadows, Jemma Simpson and Emma Jackson.

That meant picking Sharp would preclude selecting anyone else, as athletes with the 'B' standard can only be selected if no-one with the 'A' is chosen, but that was exactly what happened after two hours of debate amid a six-hour selection meeting.

The pressure was therefore firmly on the 22-year-old's shoulders in London, but after qualifying well from the heats she was only able to finish seventh in tonight's first semi-final in two minutes 01.78 seconds, more than a second outside her personal and season's best.

A disappointed Sharp said: "My aim was to make the semis but I also thought I could have run a PB here, but neither of the races were ran in a way that was a PB race. I guess I got half my goal.

"I have just tried not focus on the other side of it and justifying my selection, I wanted to do what I knew I could do today and I am disappointed.

"I wanted to walk off the track and have done myself proud and that time I ran today is not what I am capable of. I am in the best shape of my life and it didn't come together and that is why I am frustrated.

"The race wasn't really run how I expected. I found myself at the front in the first lap. I run better chasing people. I just didn't run well in the first lap and up the back straight I was trying to make a move and there was a line of people four lanes wide. I had no path to get through and I ran out of room down the home straight."

Sharp's semi-final was won by defending Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo, but former world champion Caster Semenya was the fastest qualifier in 1:57.67, a season's best for the South African whose victory in Berlin in 2009 was marred by a gender controversy.