Scott forced to wait to learn Olympic fate

Scott Westcott.
Scott Westcott.

Scott Westcott’s dream of becoming an Olympian will have to wait another two weeks after an appeal was made by one of the athletes who missed out on selection. 

The 40-year-old former Alectown runner has endured 16 years of near misses and bad luck in trying to secure a place on the world’s biggest sporting stage, and now he must wait to find out if he has a seat on the flight to Rio.

Athletics Australia said on Friday that Westcott was one of its three selected runners for this year’s Rio Olympic marathon, but an athlete not selected had appealed.

“There has been an appeal against the non-nomination of an athlete in the men’s marathon. Nominations for this event will be made to the Australian Olympic Committee once the appeal process has concluded,” an Athletics Australia spokesperson said.

An independent panel will assess the appeal before a decision in the next two weeks.

Westcott is the third-fastest qualifier of the three, and it appears his place is most at threat from an appeal. 

Westcott’s tortuous quest to make an Olympic team began in 2000, when he had B-standard qualifiers for the 5000m and 10,000m in 1999, but ran poorly at the trials.

He ran two hours, 13 minutes and 30 seconds to finish 14th in a breakthrough race at the London Marathon in 2004, placing him fourth among Australian qualifiers for the Athens Games.

He was 27th at the world championships in 2005 and fourth at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.  

In 2008, he ran 2:13:36 in Japan, outside the Australian A time of 2:12:00, but well inside the B qualifying time and the international standard. 

He was ranked second, but Australia took only one male runner, Lee Troop, to Beijing, along with three women.

Westcott had a motorcycle crash at the end of 2011, which affected his training during the qualification period for London 2012.

He prepared for the 2012 Melbourne Marathon as if it was his last, but won the national title in 2:16:00. 

The run qualified him for the 2013 world titles and rekindled his career, although he missed the world meet after the birth of his third child.

He ran 2:14:21 in Melbourne in 2013 and was third-fastest qualifier for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but again he missed out on selection.

Westcott kept training and set his sights on the Australian masters record, which he broke with a 2:15:30 in Berlin last September.

That time has survived as a top-three Olympic qualifier in the ensuing eight months.

Westcott has more than paid his dues on the road to Rio, but he is still not quite over the line.

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