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40-year-old marathoner gets Olympic berth

  • 40-year-old marathoner gets Olympic berth

    Michael Shelley has been named as one of Australia's three entrants in the Rio men's marathon.

Scott Westcott will become the oldest Australian track and field athlete to make his Olympic debut when he contests the men's marathon in Rio at the age of 40 years and 331 days.

Reigning Commonwealth champion Michael Shelley, Liam Adams and Westcott were confirmed as Australia's four 2016 Olympic marathoners on Thursday.

The announcement was delayed for a couple of weeks while Jeff Hunt unsuccessfully appealed his non-selection to an independent tribunal.

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On three previous occasions dating back to the Sydney 2000 Games, Westcott had bettered the Olympic qualifying mark, only to be overlooked by the selectors.

Westcott's effort of two hours 15 minutes and 30 seconds at last year's Berlin marathon proved the clincher this time, making him the third fastest Australian qualifier behind Shelley and Adams.

"Having hunger and desire are essential," said Westcott.

"No doubt all athletes on the Australian Olympic team have this.

"I believe I have kept my hunger burning for close to 20 years.

"I am probably in the best head space of my career.

"Training is going well and not having just completed a marathon in early 2016 means I am fresh and ready to go."

Adams, 29, will also be making his Olympic debut in Brazil.

He left it very late before clocking 2:14:58 to finish fifth at the Warsaw marathon on the final weekend of the qualifying period in April.

"I've been dreaming of making the Australian Olympic team since I was a kid," said Adams.

"I haven't really been close to making the team previously but I thought I was in with a big chance of making it this time around."

Shelley is the best-credentialled runner of the trio, having claimed a surprise gold medal in the marathon at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

He was also a creditable 16th at the London Olympics.

The Olympic men's marathon will take place on August 21, just hours before the closing ceremony in Rio.

Jess Trengove, Lisa Weightman and Milly Clark were named as Australia's three 2016 Olympic women's marathoners last month.

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