I'll pick Team GB but there will be appeals, admits Charles van Commenee

 

Charles van Commenee flew straight back from the weekend's European Championships in Helsinki and was holed up in a Heathrow hotel yesterday finalising the British track-and-field team for the London Olympics. It is fair to say that he was in a brace position.

Jenny Meadows, the world-class 800-metre runner who has been injured all year, has already given notice of her intention to appeal should the selection panel overlook her for one of the three team spots available in her event.

Van Commenee, the head coach of UK Athletics, and the man with the casting vote on the panel, is preparing himself for a flurry of protests.

"I expect a heap of appeals because people are desperate," he said. "I expect a lot of athletes to make a last desperate attempt to make the home Games.

"It's not only the athletes. It's the culture, almost, these days. People find it more difficult to accept a decision and therefore go to court, or stick a middle finger up or start protesting. It's a phenomenon in society.

"The fact that somebody has already said 'I will appeal,' without knowing the reasoning of the selection panel, I find very peculiar. I would say, 'Listen first to what the reasoning is and, if you think that the reason is not right, then appeal maybe.

"You cannot appeal on everything. You can appeal on facts; you can appeal on where the facts have been overseen, or where the panel has not adhered to the policy as published."

The women's 800m is sure to be the most difficult matter to resolve. The selectors could decide to pick just Lynsey Sharp, who won at the trials and then took silver in Helsinki but has only a B standard time, or alternatively they could select any three from four athletes who have the A standard but who have been struggling for form or fitness: Meadows, Jemma Simpson, Marilyn Okoro and Emma Jackson.

"Without any doubt the 800m women will take most time to come to a decision," Van Commenee acknowledged. "There are many variables there. I'm not particularly looking forward to that one."

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