Warburton wins appeal and will line up for GB in 800m

 

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The Independent Online

Gareth Warburton was yesterday added to Great Britain's athletics team for London 2012 in the 800 metres, after winning an appeal over his non-selection.

Warburton was left out of the 77-strong team announced on Tuesday, having failed to achieve the second "A" standard qualifying time he needed at last week's European Championships in Helsinki. However, the 30-year-old Welshman's appeal was successful yesterday and he will join Andrew Osagie and Michael Rimmer in the 800m.

Ed Warner, the chairman of both UK Athletics and the appeals panel, said: "We appreciate that this is a difficult time for athletes who were not selected to Team GB. Appeals are heard on a matter of process and facts and not opinion; 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."

Warburton, who was just 0.2 seconds away from the qualifying time in Helsinki, said: "I am absolutely delighted to have been selected to Team GB to represent my country at our home Olympic Games. 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."

Among others to appeal were Emma Jackson, Marilyn Okoro and Jemma Simpson in the women's 800m; Lynsey Sharp was selected despite only having the B standard.

Jackson, who had been hampered by a rib injury when finishing seventh at the Olympic trials, wrote on Twitter: "Not too surprised that the appeal was rejected but I had to try. All I can do now is prove to everybody that I should have been in the team."

Meanwhile Bernard Lagat, the Kenyan-born US runner who finished second to Mo Farah at last year's World Championships in South Korea, has said the Briton can perform "exceptionally" at the Olympics.

After finishing second to Farah's friend and training partner Galen Rupp in the recent US Olympic trials, Lagat said: "Mo is training well; I could sense from Galen how easily his speed has come along. Mo is a great medal contender in the 10k and 5k. Nobody would have thought he had so much more talent, but it takes an athlete to work out what works well for him.

"The European Championships in Barcelona [where Farah won the 5,000m and 10,000m in 2010] was the time he really showed he was one of the greatest athletes and the transition to work with Alberto Salazar seems to have worked even better for him. He believes that he belongs at the top.

"The only thing he has to be careful of is the pressure. If he can be left alone I think he will perform exceptionally in the Olympics."

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