Olympics: Paula Radcliffe’s medal chances 50-50, says GB athletics chief
Paula Radcliffe’s last chance of challenging for an Olympic medal was yesterday rated as only 50/50 by UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee.
Radcliffe is the world record holder in the marathon and won gold over the distance at the World Championships in 2005, but has never won an Olympic medal.
The 38-year-old failed to finish both the marathon and 10,000m in Athens in 2004 after being hampered by illness and injury. She did finish the marathon in Beijing in 2008, but another leg injury saw her finish 23rd.
“Paula is always a concern,” Van Commenee said. “She is on a thin line every day for the last decade. Nothing has changed.”
Asked specifically if Radcliffe would be fit enough to compete in London, Van Commenee added: “Shall we flip a coin? Paula is Paula.”
Speaking earlier this month, Radcliffe revealed that a foot problem which forced her to miss the London Marathon in 2008 had also flared up again.
“Preparations for the Games have gone really well and I was really pleased until the last ten days or so,” she said at the time. “The joint in my foot that can give me trouble has been giving me a bit of a problem. I don’t think my participation at the Games is under threat at this stage. It’s just a case of managing it. I can run on it, it just hurts.” Radcliffe comfortably achieved the Olympic qualifying time in Berlin in September last year, but was then “at a loss” to explain her slowest ever half-marathon time in Vienna in April.
Meanwhile, it was revealed yesterday that men’s marathon runner Dave Webb will miss out through injury.
The 30-year-old has been suffering with a stress fracture and failed a fitness test at the Dartford Half Marathon last Sunday.
A BOA statement read: “The BOA Chief Medical Officer, in conjunction with the UKA doctor and Team GB Chef de Mission, have announced his withdrawal from the team on medical grounds.”
Webb, from Leeds, was named in the team in April even though he did not have the A qualifying standard. He opted to miss the London Marathon and was awarded his place based on his 15th place and personal best of two hours 15.48 minutes from last summer’s World Championships in Daegu. He has not run over the 26-mile distance since then.
Former shoe salesman Scott Overall and Lee Merrien will represent Britain in the marathon and the BOA confirmed a replacement for Webb would not be called up.
“We wish Dave the very best in his recovery and applaud him for offering his continued and full support to his athletics teammates,” said Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt.
While Webb was not realistically going to be a medal contender in London, the injury is a personal blow for an athlete who has never competed in an Olympics before.
He revealed on the day of his selection how he fitted twice-daily training runs around his full-time job, getting up at 6am to run seven miles before work and extending that to 15 miles in the evenings. Britain will have three competitors in the women’s marathon – Radcliffe, Mara Yamauchi and Claire Hallissey.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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