Athletics officials had concerns about fitness of Newdick and McLaren

New Zealand decathletes Brent Newdick and Scott McLaren's failure to complete the event at the Commonwealth Games came after a long battle with Athletics New Zealand selectors for their inclusion in the Glasgow team.

There were concerns from some senior athletics officials that McLaren in particular did not have the form or fitness to warrant a place in the team.

The inclusion of the pair, who have both struggled with injury over the past year, was the subject of some fraught conversations between the New Zealand selectors and the athletes. It is understood McLaren was threatening to go to the Sports Tribunal if he wasn't selected.

McLaren withdrew after the first day of the competition in Glasgow after succumbing to a pre-existing foot injury. He was in 17th place. Newdick, a silver medallist in Delhi four years ago, pulled out the following day after seven events when he picked up an ankle injury in the high jump.


Athletics New Zealand convener of selectors Graham Seatter said Newdick and McLaren's nominations were put forward to the NZOC conditional on the pair achieving a certain performance standard before June 30.

"Each of them met those performance targets, so on that basis we were happy to confirm with the NZOC that we felt it was appropriate to be selected," he said.

But it was not before both athletes tried to fight the added conditions, arguing the requirement to compete in a decathlon in the lead-up would hamper preparation for the Games.

After some heated discussion the performance standard was amended. The pair were required to achieve 3800 points in five events - 100m, 400m, high jump, pole vault and discus - during legitimate competition by June 30. They did not have to achieve it in one day.

Seatter said McLaren was still unhappy with the situation, insisting meeting the qualifying standard should be enough to warrant inclusion.

"I suggested to him he reads the nomination criteria, which clearly stated that achieving a qualifying performance does not guarantee them for nomination," said Seatter.

"Scott qualified in February 2013 and had competed on only a small number of occasions since then. So we were never going to select him without him doing something else - you can't select someone on what they did 15 months ago when nothing has been done since.

"We told him he would only be selected if we absolutely believed he was able to perform at the Games, and he needed to prove that to us. He made it clear he was not happy with that, but he had no option."


Seatter said he did not recall McLaren making direct threats to him to go to the Sports Tribunal, but if they were made it would not have had any impact on selection decisions.

"That's sort of immaterial for me. At the end of the day we do our job do the best of our ability and follow the procedures, and if they aren't nominated or selected and they choose to [go to the Sports Tribunal] then that's their right and so be it."

Although McLaren met the performance standard, the Herald has learned further questions over his fitness were raised at a pre-Games camp at Cardiff. Athletics New Zealand high performance manager Scott Goodman said it was noticeable McLaren was "not 100 per cent" but an assessment was made that with careful management he could compete.