• London Olympics 2012

Lewis brands Team GB selection a farce

ESPN staff
July 5, 2012
Denise Lewis: "I'm disappointed with the selection committee." © PA Photos

Team GB athletics head coach Charles van Commenee has come under fire for his controversial selection, with Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis describing the situation as a "farce".

On Tuesday, Van Commenee confirmed the 77 athletes that will represent the team in London. The announcement was a controversial one as Jenny Meadows, Marilyn Okoro, Jemma Simpson and Emma Jackson missed out on 800m selection despite attaining the 'A' standard time - with Linsey Sharpe, who claimed silver at the European Championships, getting the nod despite not having dipped under the 'A' standard.

Van Commenee claims he and the selection panel agonised over the squad, but suggested those athletes who failed to make the team only had themselves to blame.

That stance has not sat well with Lewis who said: "I'm disappointed with the selection committee because they are not sending the strongest team. It's a farce."

Double Olympic champion Kelly Holmes has acted as a mentor to Emma Jackson and she feels the strongest team has not been selected.

Holmes, who won 800m and 1500m gold in Athens in 2004, said: "Tell me why in a home Olympics you wouldn't select three athletes per event when they have the qualifying time?

"This is the life dream of an athlete. What's the point of having A standards when you don't pick any in an event? I don't get it.

"Rightly so there will probably be a few appeals. I stick by my word in our Olympic year. Fill the team."

Steve Cram feels the decision has piled pressure on Sharp to deliver in the 800m. He said: "The selectors will now be hoping Lynsey delivers a big performance in London.

"It is very difficult to judge her pedigree because this will be her first major championship and while she did well by winning a silver medal at the European Championships in Helsinki, it was a weak field.

"If you are being picked on a 'B' standard you are probably someone who is unlikely to make the final."

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