Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Another Kiwi to appeal Olympic non-selection

Another Kiwi is appealing their non-selection for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Photo / Getty
Another Kiwi is appealing their non-selection for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Photo / Getty

The Sports Tribunal is set to be called into action to rule on yet another Olympic selection dispute, less than three weeks out from the Rio 2016 opening ceremony.

London-based New Zealand marathon runner Paul Martelletti has filed Sports Tribunal proceedings against Athletics New Zealand and the New Zealand Olympic Committee following his exclusion from the team last week.

Athletics NZ on Friday named a further four athletes to the 10-strong group of track and field representatives named in April.

Martelletti's lawyer, Daniel Kalderimis of Chapman Tripp in Wellington, filed an appeal against the non-nomination last Tuesday, with the two parties meeting later in the week in an attempt to resolve the dispute through mediation.

After considering further evidence, the national body presented its final decision over the weekend, maintaining its original position not to nominate Martelletti for the Olympic team.

Kalderimis has confirmed a notice of appeal will be filed to the Sports Tribunal tomorrow.

"Mr Martelletti is New Zealand's leading men's marathon runner, the holder of the Oceania marathon title, and the only International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) qualifying athlete for the Rio Olympics Men's Marathon event from New Zealand," said Kalderimis.

"Here, there is no competition for places. For New Zealand, it is Mr Martelletti or no-one."

To qualify for Rio, marathon runners must complete a time of 2:19 under IAAF standards. Martelletti has done so twice - in London and the Gold Coast.

Kalderimis indicated the grounds for the appeal centre around the application of the nomination criteria and that evidence of Martelletti's illnesses during key events was not accorded sufficient weight.

"The overall test in New Zealand is whether Mr Martelletti is capable of a top 16 placing. He is. Despite being ill when competing in the recent London marathon, Mr Martelletti completed in 2:17:26, finishing in 21st place overall, indicating that a time of under 2:14 was likely to be achieved. This was from a field of 39,000 competitors, which was not limited to three entries per nation as is the Rio 2016 marathon," says Mr Kalderimis.

Kalderimis said Martelletti's coach, Nick Anderson, a former UK Athletics head coach, also strongly supports the athlete's contention that he is capable of a top 16.

New Zealand has not been represented by a male marathon runner in the Olympic Games since 2004.

- NZ Herald

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