Monday 20 January 2020

Athletics: Rocky road to London

John Greene

When it comes to the Olympics, Ireland is never too far from controversy. And with 14 weeks still to go to London 2012, the controversies are brewing nicely. A full-blown row can't be too far away.

This time, however, it's a little different from the bouts of in-fighting we have become used to because of events outside our control.

What happened to Joe Ward in Turkey last week is outside of our control but no less shocking. He may only be 18 but he is already a sensation in the world of boxing and his 'defeat' last week is a major blow to Ireland's medal prospects.

Which is not to say that we don't have the potential for trouble to brew here, because we do. And a couple of areas are standing out already -- the women's marathon and showjumping.

Ireland has four women qualified for the marathon -- Caitriona Jennings, Linda Byrne, Ava Hutchinson and Maria McCambridge -- but only three can go. And Ireland has qualified two showjumpers for London also.

In both cases, names will be put forward to the Olympic Council of Ireland for ratification, and in both cases selectors from the two sports have difficult choices to make. And a look at the selection criteria for both reveals they are sufficiently vague so that whoever is left behind is bound to cry foul.

Of course it would be nice to think that we will have a clear run into the Games, but history tells us otherwise.

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