WITH JUST 100 days to go until the start of the 2012 Olympic Games, 35 Irish athletes have achieved the qualification standard with many more hoping to board the plane to London in the coming weeks to swell the teams’ numbers to between 50 and 55.
However, the Irish Olympic Council (IOC) face a significant selection headache after Catriona Jennings became the fourth woman to reach the Olympic’s A standard time for the marathon when she ran 2:36.14 on Sunday in Rotterdam.
Only three Irish athletes can enter the event in London and though Jennings’ is the second fastest qualifier, the IOC have stated they will use a range of criteria to select the final trio.
Other athletics qualifiers include Stephanie O’Reilly and Fionnuala Britton (3,000m steeplechase), Olive Loughnane (20k walk), Alistair Cragg (5,000m) and Brendan Boyce in the 50k walk.
In cycling, Martyn Irvine secured his place in the omnium event last month while Caroline Ryan needs another 30 points before the end of May to ensure Olympic qualification.
17-year-old Grainne Murphy will hope to add to her European Championships silver medal in the pool where she will be joined by Barry Murphy who shocked the world when he defeated Japanese Olympic champion Kosuke Katijima at the Indianapolis Grand Prix in March.
YouTube Credit: USASwimmingOrg
Kieran Behan – who turns 23 tomorrow – is just the second Irish gymnast to qualify for the Olympic games, following in the footsteps of Barry McDonald who competed at the Atlanta games in 1996.
Ireland also have five sailors qualified for London with Annalise Murphy, Peter O’Leary, David Burrows, Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern all hoping to bring home a medal.
Boxing will, once more, be well represented with Darren O’Neill, John Joe Nevin and Michael Conlon already qualified and the likes of Paddy Barnes, David Oliver Joyce and Katie Taylor hoping to join them in the coming weeks.
Martin Burke of the IOC is keen to point out that while all the athletes above have achieved the Olympic qualification standard, they have still to be nominated by their individual organisations.
“There are still quite a number of people who can achieve qualification standard so nobody has been selected for the games yet,” said Burke.