KURT MULCAHY
KURT MULCAHY

Kurt and Kerrie have until June



FIFTEEN track and field athletes will make their Olympic debut in Beijing after being named in a 25-strong Games team yesterday.

Athletics Australia included controversial 400m runner John Steffensen in the Beijing team which is likely to grow in number in coming months.

Steffensen, Joel Milburn and Sean Wroe were all named to contest the 400m in Beijing this August, while Clinton Hill and Dylan Grant were named as relay runners.

As reported in The Northern Star yesterday, Mullumbimby's Kurt Mulcahy missed out but he has until June 23 to earn the sixth and final position in the relay squad.

As did Kyogle long jumper Kerrie Taurima.

Taurima's arch rival Bronwyn Thompson was named but the Canberra-based athlete also has until June to jump either an A or B qualifying distance which could earn her a spot on the team.

Other notable athletes named yesterday included world champion 400m hurdler Jana Rawlinson and distance running star Craig Mottram.

But selectors did not nominate any male or female sprinter in the team.

"The selectors do not believe any of our current sprinters have shown a high enough standard to be included," chairman of selectors Peter Fitzgerald said.

Nineteen-year-old discus thrower Dani Samuels was the youngest athlete named today, with 20km walker Luke Adams the oldest at age 31.

Four athletes who missed the Australian domestic season due to injury have been told they will be considered for selection if they return to form in coming months.

They were pole vaulters Paul Burgess and Kym Howe, 1500m runner Sarah Jamieson and walker Jane Saville.

Another group of athletes, including shot putter Justin Anlezark and 1500m runners Lisa Corrigan and Mark Fountain, have been told to seek better performances in coming months to be considered for Beijing.

Nominations for the marathon will be made by May 19. AAP



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