LONDON 2012: Shock as Sharp earns Olympic place at expense of Meadows and others
BRITISH athletics coach Charles van Commenee has put all his faith in Lynsey Sharp as he sprung a major 800m selection surprise in his 71-strong Olympic track and field team.
TOUGH CALL: Charles van Commenee has overlooked Jenny Meadows, despite a world and European medal in the 800m in the past three years (Getty Images)
Sharp, 21, is certainly in-form having won the recent trials and claimed silver at last week's European Championships in Helsinki.
But she's not achieved the A qualifying standard meaning by selecting her, van Commenee limited himself to just one pick in the event under IAAF rules.
That means that 2009 world medallist Jenny Meadows, who hasn't run since last September due to injury, has been excluded, as has Emma Jackson, who has the A standard but is battling a rib complaint, and current British number one Marilyn Okoro.
Meadows has already indicated she will appeal the decision while Okoro, who is named in the 4x400m relay team, just minutes ago tweeted: 'I'm quitting'.
SHOCK: Lynsey Sharp is the major surprise selection in Team GB's Olympic athletics team - at the expense of proven championship performer Jenny Meadows, who is battling injury (Getty Images)
Dwain Chambers has also been confirmed in Great Britain's London 2012 team just weeks after his lifetime Olympic ban for doping was overturned.
Chambers took the British Olympic Association to the High Court in the build-up to the Beijing Olympics but was unsuccessful in attempting to rule their hardline approach towards convicted drugs cheats as illegal.
Four years on, and following a recent ruling of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt insists the sprinter, who was banned between 2003 and 2005, is a welcome addition to team, whose coach Charles van Commenee wants a return of eight medals, double the number won in Beijing.
"For me representing my country in an Olympics is a privilege that should never be taken for granted," said Chambers, who appeared at his last Games 12 years ago.
"To be given the opportunity to do so in my home town has been a dream that at times has seemed very distant and is now a reality.
"It is now my responsibility to prepare fully for the 100m, the relay, to support all my fellow athletes and all my other colleagues within Team GB.
"It is a very proud day and I thank the selectors for the confidence and faith they have placed in me."
Promising junior Adam Gemili, whose coach still wants him to focus on the upcoming World Junior Championships, will compete alongside Chambers in the blue-riband 100m after assuring his selection at the trials. James Dasaolu completes the squad courtesy of running the 10.18 second A standard earlier this year.
Although with not a single British sprinter ranked in the world's top 50 this year, it's arguably the weakest selection of picks in more than 30 years, with no chance of helping Team GB towards their ambitious medal target.
Triple jumper Phillips Idowu is named despite major doubts about his 2012 fitness and other top gold medal hope Jess Ennis leads a heptathlon team that includes rising star Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Commonwealth Games champion Louise Hazel, who is selected despite recent mixed form.
Mo Farah has been named in both the 5,000m and 10,000m but has yet to decide whether he'll run the shorter distance, in which he is reigning world champion, with the 10,000m the first event on the schedule.
"Every ounce of hard work has been leading towards this point and now I can't wait to get to the start line in the Olympic Stadium," said Farah.
“It is such a big deal to be able to compete in front of home fans and I know their support will mean so much to me and the rest of my teammates.
"It's so close now, I'm in Font Romeau doing my final preparations and I'm feeling in great shape going into London after retaining my European title last week."
Elsewhere, and as expected, Andy Turner was awarded the third pick in the 110m hurdles ahead of two-time world finalist Will Sharman.
Turner has spent a difficult season battling injuries but his performance in Daegu and European title two years ago in Barcelona gave him the edge, while Rhys Williams's gold at the Europeans means he will join world champion Dai Greene and Jack Green in the 400m hurdles.
Lee McConnell has been given a special head coach's pick to join defending champion Christine Ohuruogu and Shana Cox in the 400m while Anyika Onuora will run in the 100m and 200m, despite not achieving the qualifying standard in the shorter sprint.
But, in another surprise, Van Commenee has selected veteran Stuart Stokes ahead of four-time national champion Luke Gunn in the 3,000m steeplechase.
Gunn won the trials in convincing fashion and is top ranked in 2012 and Stokes didn't even compete in Birmingham and has only raced twice over barriers this season.
Dominic King has been rewarded for shaving a massive eight minutes off his personal best and will be Great Britain's first male race walker since Chris Maddocks in 2000 in the demanding 50km event.
Great Britain will have representation in all but four events - the women's high jump, discus and shot and 4x100m relay.
Van Commenee will still take a 71-strong squad to the Games, an increase on the number who qualified for Beijing - but may be disappointed there aren't more representatives in some events, although it is the biggest squad in 20 years.
For example, four years ago there were three British high jumpers in the Olympic final, where Germaine Mason won silver. This time around new European champion Robbie Grabarz is the only one flying the flag after Samson Oni and Tom Parsons failed to qualify.
"I'm very proud to have nominated such a strong team of athletes to Team GB," said van Commenee, who will need to guide 47 rookies through their first Games experience.
"Our collective philosophy since Beijing has been one of raising the bar as we work towards London 2012.
"I believe this team is well prepared to go out there, be competitive and achieve on the greatest sporting stage in front of a home crowd."
100m - Adam Gemili, Dwain Chambers, James Dasaolu, 200m - James Ellington, Christian Malcolm, 400m - Martyn Rooney, Conrad Williams, Nigel Levine, 800m - Andrew Osagie, Michael Rimmer, 1500m - Andrew Baddeley, Ross Murray, 5000m - Mo Farah, Nick McCormick, 10000m - Mo Farah, Chris Thompson, 110m hurdles - Andy Pozzi, Lawrence Clarke, Andy Turner, 400m hurdles - Dai Greene, Jack Greene, Rhys Williams, 3,000m steeplechase - Stuart Stokes, 4x100m relay - Chambers, Gemili, Dasaolu, Ellington, Malcolm, Danny Talbot, Mark Lewis-Francis, Simeon Williamson, 4x400m relay - Rooney, Williams, Levine, Richard Buck, Luke Lennon-Ford, Rob Tobin High Jump - Robbie Grabarz, Long Jump - Greg Rutherford, Chris Tomlinson, Triple Jump - Philips Idowu, Pole Vault - Steven Lewis, Javelin - Mervyn Luckwell, Hammer - Alex Smith, Discus - Lawrence Okoye, Abdul Buhari, Brett Morse, Shot - Carl Myerscough, Decathlon - Daniel Awde, Marathon - Scott Overall, Lee Merrien, Dave Webb, 50km walk - Dominic King,
100m - Abi Oyepitan, Anyika Onuora, 200m - AbI Oyepitan, Margaret Adeoye, Onuora, 400m - Christine Ohuruogu, Shana Cox, Lee McConnell, 800m - Lynsey Sharp, 1500m - Hannah England, Laura Weightman, Lisa Dobriskey, 5000m - Julia Bleasdale, Jo Pavey, 10000m - Julia Bleasdale, Jo Pavey, 100m hurdles - Tiffany Porter, 400m hurdles - Perri Shakes Drayton, Eilidh Child, 3000m steeplechase - Barbara Parker, Eilish McColgan, 4x400m relay - Ohuruogu, Cox, McConnell, Marilyn Okoro, Nicola Sanders, Emily Diamond, Long Jump - Shara Proctor, Triple Jump - Yamile Aldama, Pole Vault - Holly Bleasdale, Kate Dennison, Javelin - Goldie Sayers, Hammer - Sophie Hitchon, Heptathlon - Jessica Ennis, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Louise Hazel, Marathon - Paula Radcliffe, Mara Yamauchi, Claire Hallissey, 20km walk - Jo Jackson,
© Sportsbeat 2012