It has been an agonising wait for three men who have had to wait longer than expected to be announced on the Rio Olympic Team for the Marathon. Liam Adams, Michael Shelley and Scott Westcott were all announced today on the team after an appeal process delayed the original announcement.
Westcott will become Australia’s oldest athletics competitor to make his Games debut when he takes the Rio starting line at the age of 40.
His performance in the Berlin Marathon in October 2015 was enough to secure a spot for the father of three, who has been chasing his Olympic dream since the 90’s.
“I still can’t believe it,” the Newcastle runner said. “My dream began when I was 16, I had run qualifying times for three Olympic Games back since Sydney 2000, and for some reason my attempts to retire from competitive running in 2013 were only half hearted. Something kept me going.”
Michael Shelley, 32, had a fantastic Olympic debut when 16th in London and in winning the 2014 Commonwealth Games (2:11.15) he became the first Australian man to do so since Steve Moneghetti in 1994.
Shelley was 12th in the London and Berlin marathons in 2015 to produce the two quickest times by an Australian in the qualifying period. His London run was only four seconds off his Glasgow form.
“Ever since the Glasgow Commonwealth Games my target has been making the Australian Olympic Team for Rio,” Shelley said. “It is pretty special and exciting to be able to go to Rio for my second Olympics.”
Liam Adams, 29, produced a fantastic run at the Warsaw marathon on 24 April to finish fifth in (2:14.58) and be the second fastest Australian in the Olympic qualifying period.
“I was mainly elated but also quite relieved,” Adams, said of his last ditch performance.
“I was in great shape in my previous marathons in the qualification period and had some absolutely shocking performances, so I put myself under a tremendous amount of pressure to improve my qualifier on the final day of selection. It was off a very short turn-around from my last marathon so I’m actually quite pleased with the time I managed to get in Warsaw.”
Adams set a personal best of 2:13.49 when he was seventh at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
The men’s race will be held on Sunday the 21st of August, which is the final morning of the Rio Olympic Games.