Battle for Beijing heats up

Battle for Beijing heats up

By ITU Admin on 01/05/08 at 12:00 am

With only five more events remaining in the ITU qualification period for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, a battle is heating up over which countries will be sending athletes to the Games, and how many.  The top 8 countries in the men’s and woman’s Olympic rankings get to send a team of three but a battle is quietly heating up as to who will get to send the full team.

After the Tongyeong BG Triathlon World Cup, the men’s qualification breaks down like this:
the top 8 countries who get to send 3 men are - 1) NZL 2) GBR 3) GER 4) FRA 5) CAN 6) AUS 7) SUI 8) USA - 9) RUS, right now on the outside looking in, trying to get that 8th spot for 3 men.

New Zealand, Great Britain and Germany are safe to qualify 3 men, and apart from a complete meltdown, so are France and Canada.  There is a tight match-up for the rest of the men with only 301 points separating 5th and 9th place, this translates to only a top-6 finish at a world cup.

When you look at the Olympic rankings, you have to see where the 3rd man is for these five countries:
- for #6 AUS, is Brendan Sexton at #35 with 2507 points
- for #7 SUI, is Olivier Marceau at #37 with 2452
- for #8 USA, last spot is Hunter Kemper at #39 with 2359
- for #9 RUS, the 3rd guy that’s trying to pull them into the top 8 is Dmitriy Polyansky, who’s at #43 with 2306 points

Beyond that, it’s Italy at #10 is Emilio D’Aquino ranked #63 with 1640 points; too far back at this point to form a real threat.

Polyansky is racing this weekend in the Richards Bay BG Triathlon World Cup and will most likely bump Kemper out and the USA to only two spots.  With Russia consistently putting men in the top 10 at the first four world cups, a race in hand with the European Championships and Kemper not racing so far this year, the US are the most immediately threatened by Russia. 

The only thing in the US’s favour is that Polyansky has maxed out his top-9 results as each athlete only retains points from their top-9 finishes and therefore, for every race Polyansky places in, he must drop his lowest scores of approximately 126pts.  So Polyansky must finish 14th or higher in Richards Bay to make up the 53 points he trails Kemper (181-126=55pts)

This is a turnaround over the first six events of 2008 as at the beginning of the season triathlon-powerhouse Australia was on the bubble to not qualifying a third man but has since moved up to a safe 6th due largely to the efforts of up-and-coming Brendan Sexton, 2007 Under23 world championships silver medalist.

Click here for Men’s Olympic simulation.

On the women’s side, things are a little more clear cut with only France and Austria fighting over the 8th and final position to send a full team to Beijing

After the Tongyeong BG Triathlon World Cup the breakdown is as follows:  the top 8 countries are – 1)NZL 2)GER 3)USA 4)AUS 5)JPN 6)CAN 7)SUI 8)FRA – 9)AUT.

With 7th place Switzerland more then 1000 points ahead of France, it is unlikely any of the top-7 countries will be caught. 

The 3rd woman for France and Austria are: Marion Lorblanchet in 48th place with 1724 points and Kate Allen in 50th place with 1654 points.  Lorblanchet will be racing in Richards Bay, hoping to increase her lead on Allen. 

The next closest countries are Great Britain (Liz Blatchford) and Spain (Zurine Rodriguez) in 59th and 60th place, respectively.  But being almost 300 points behind at this stage, they are unlikely to make the top 8. 

Click here for women’s Olympic simulation.

Despite earning the places for their country, this does not guarantee that athlete will compete in the Olympic Games.  Each country has its own selection policy.

Click here for full Olympic rankings.

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