While several countries, including the United States, are still in the process of qualifying athletes for the 2012 London Olympics, New Zealanders are no longer playing the waiting game. Andrea Hewitt had qualified with a sixth-place finish at the 2011 ITU World Triathlon Series event in London and Kris Gemmell had nailed his spot down with a seventh-place finish at last weekend’s ITU World Triathlon Series event in Sydney.
Triathlon New Zealand announced that Bevan Docherty and Kate McIlroy will join them in London. Ryan Sissons and Nicky Samuels have also been named to the team, but their Olympic berths are contingent on New Zealand cementing the third spots. New Zealand does currently hold three spots for both the men and women and will need to hold onto them through the end of May.
Additionally, Debbie Tanner and Clark Ellice have been named as reserves in the event of injury or illness in the lead up to London.
Andrea Hewitt: ”Qualifying early for the games has been a huge help for me and allowed me to concentrate on peaking at the right time of the year. My form at the moment is great considering I have not yet done any of the speed work that will be crucial in London. While it is some time since my nomination was confirmed to the NZOC, the naming of the team today is a very proud moment for me, my coach Laurent and my family.”
Kate McIlroy: “I am excited and proud to be named in the NZ Olympic Team; it is by far the highlight of my sporting career so far. Everything was on the line in Sydney; I finished with mixed emotions knowing I would have to wait a few days for the selectors to decide. The quality of the other NZ girls is world class, so I realise it has been a tough decision to narrow it down to the last two spots. It’s a massive relief to be named, now I can look forward to the next few months with a clear head and plan how I am going to get myself on the podium in London.”
Nicky Samuels: “I have worked hard for this over the past three years with Coach Mark Elliott. If it had been handed to me on a plate it wouldn’t mean as much as it does. To go through two heart surgeries within six and a half months and come out the other side with Olympic selection – the result I wanted, this is just perfect.”
Bevan Docherty: “I have been focused on London for some time. After winning bronze in Beijing to go with my silver from Athens I made it clear the only thing missing was the gold to go with the collection. I have not wavered from that thought; that is my goal, to go to London and win gold. I am as excited about this opportunity as any in my career. They key for me now is to continue my preparation and peak on the right day to be at my best.”
Kris Gemmell: “The Olympics is the pinnacle of most sports in the world. As a kid I dreamed about being there one day, in every one of those dreams I’m sure it ended with me winning gold. I am under no illusion as to how hard this will be but I am fully prepared to give it everything I have to make it happen on the one day that matters most.”
Ryan Sissons: “Words cannot explain how I feel. I still don’t think it has sunk in that I am going to the Olympics! After the race situation in Sydney and my crash in the early stages of the race I was extremely disappointed and upset that I couldn’t continue the race and show that I was capable of another good result. However I knew I had two other races banked and it was out of my control so there was nothing more I could do but wait for the selection.”