By Merryn Sherwood on 29/07/11 at 8:22 am
While it’s still 12 months until the triathlon competitions at the London 2012 Olympic Games, the start lists for both the men’s and women’s gold medal races could become a little clearer after the 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series London round next weekend.
While the number of places on the start line for each country comes down to a complex qualifying system, plenty of National Federations have set London as an part of their national qualifying criteria. Put simply, it means that some athletes can secure their Olympic spots next weekend.
One of those most likely to gain that early qualification is Paula Findlay. Canada’s qualification rules state that an athlete needs to finish top eight in London, and at least one top eight finish in an Dextro Energy Triathlon Series event between 1 June 2010 and 31 May 2011. Findlay has won three series titles in that time, and comes into London as the defending champion.
U.S athletes also have a straightforward way of gaining an automatic qualification, the two highest finishing athletes in London – providing they come in the top nine - will qualify. Sarah Groff, who became the first ever American woman to win a Dextro Energy Triathlon Series medal when she finished third in Kitzbühel, and Laura Bennett both have multiple top nine finishes already this season. In the men’s field, Hunter Kemper hasn’t competed in many series races so far this year, but he does have a World Cup win and two World Cup podiums to his name this year. If Kemper can qualify, it will be his fourth successive Olympics Games.
New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt is also in a prime position to secure her ticket London. New Zealand’s policy states that the two highest placed athletes from the London race will gain selection, as long as they finish in the top ten. Hewitt has finished inside the top ten every time except once in the series this year, in Kitzbühel. Other Kiwis to watch are Kate McIlroy , who finished sixth in Madrid. Among the men, two-time Olympic medallist Bevan Docherty is a good chance. He finished 10th in Kitzbühel and is coming off a win at the Edmonton World Cup.
France has two spots up for grabs if its athletes finish in the top eight finish in London. As medallists already in 2011 David Hauss and Emmie Charayron are well placed. For the German team, there are two spots available for the first two finishers in the top 12. For, Svenja Bazlen has three top-12 finishes so far in the 2011 series. While reigning Olympic men’s champion Jan Frodeno hasn’t had the best luck in 2011, but he will be keen to book his spot for London 2012 to defend his title.
But for most countries, London is just the start of the process. Australian triathletes looking for that automatic qualifying spot need to win London and then finish in the top three in the final 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon Series standings.
Swiss triathletes need to first finish top ten in London and then get a confirmation result in 2012, which is a top 15 finish in the Dextro Energy Triathlon Series, top five in a World Cup race or top five in the 2012 European Championships.
Great Britain’s selection criteria includes a podium in either London or Beijing this year, plus another Dextro Energy Triathlon Series podium, but is largely based on discretion from selectors.
All selections are ultimately at the discretion of each National Federation and each National Olympic Committee, and will not be finalised until next year.
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