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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Best athletics team ever, says coach

Best athletics team ever, says coach

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1 Best athletics team ever, says coach on Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:26 am



Best athletics team ever, says coach

Michael Gleeson
Sports Writer for The Age
25 July 2012

Australia's athletics team is the highest quality to be sent overseas for an Olympics ever, according to team coach Eric Hollingsworth.

That might not equate to more medals - Australia is aiming for six - but with athletes on the team required to have achieved an A-standard to qualify it has made the standard of the total team higher than any before.

Australia has sent 52 athletes to London for the games and only Melissa Breen in the 100 metres was a discretionary selection to join the team without the A-standard. (She has since run an A-standard time). Steve Solomon who has been picked to run the 400m has also not run an A-standard time in that event but he was already on the team as part of the 400m relay team.

''We are delighted with the quality of the team,'' Australia's high performance coach Hollingsworth said.

''One of the ambitions for the organisation was to one day have the biggest athletic team and we have achieved that so a big tick for athletics to outstrip things like swimming, cycling and rowing.

''The team speaks for itself, it is the highest quality team that Australia has ever sent abroad.''

Hollingsworth said the target of six medals, set by Athletics Australia president Rob Fildes, was achievable.

''We have intentionally put a reasonably high expectation on this team, this is a quality unit and we expect some medals and there are some obvious ones you have all spoken to today who have got great chances, outstanding gold medal chances in Mitchell (Watt) and Sally (Pearson), quietly behind the scenes Jared Tallent [20km and 50km walk] has been walking himself into some seriously good shape - there is an expectation on Jared into the medals as well.''

The athletics contingent is the largest of any in the 2012 Australian Olympic Team, bigger than swimming, cycling and others. It is also the second largest team sent to an Olympic Games hosted overseas behind Atlanta (60 athletes) in 1996.

It is the fourth largest athletics team sent to an Olympic Games in history behind Sydney (82 athletes), Melbourne (76 athletes)and Atlanta (60 athletes).

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