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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Melissa Breen tipped to go as AA plans for 50 athletes in London

Melissa Breen tipped to go as AA plans for 50 athletes in London

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Track team a very big deal for London Games

by: Scott Gullan
From:Herald Sun
June 01, 2012

OFTEN seen as the poor relation in Olympic teams, the resurgence of track and field will see it surpass swimming and rowing for numbers wearing the green and gold in London.

Athletics Australia is set to confirm a team of more than 50 after its June 11 selection cut-off, which will make it the nation's biggest Olympic track and field team since Sydney 2000.

Rowing is sending 47 to London with the swimming team to number 44. Cycling is next on 30.

The flood of qualifiers in recent weeks has justified high performance manager Eric Hollingsworth's tough stance on selection.

Already 31 athletes have been named with six recent A-standard qualifiers to be added, including Olympic pole vault champion Steve Hooker and 1500m star Ryan Gregson.

The exact size of the team will depend on the relays, with Australia currently having three teams qualified for London.

To ensure they get to the start line, the teams have to be inside the top 16 on world rankings by the July cut-off the men's 4x100m is ranked 12th, 4x400m 12th and women's 4x100m 14th.

Hollingsworth said it was time track and field started flexing its muscle over swimming.

"I am on record with swimming saying I want to get out of that shadow and put us into a position where we can be a multi medal-winning team every time we go out," he said.

"To get 50 for this sport given how difficult this sport is ... when I tell people from international teams that we'll have a team of 50 that's all A-qualifiers they marvel at it. That's why people who are critical of me, they don't realise what we have done over the past four years."

Hollingsworth said the strict policy on A-standard qualifying marks had seen athletes go above and beyond.

Hr sees long-jumper Fabrice Lapierre as the final piece of his puzzle. The 2010 world indoor champion will seek to qualify in the US over the next fortnight.

The only B-standard qualifier who will be named is sprinter Melissa Breen, who has gone agonisingly close to eclipsing the 11.29sec 100m qualifying mark - she ran a personal best 11.292 in Japan in April, which was rounded up to 11.30.

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