Liz Blatchford notified the British Triathlon Federation (BTF) today that she does not intend to fulfil her role as a Reserve in the British Olympic Triathlon Team, choosing instead to concentrate on a switch to non-drafting racing and Ironman in 2013.
Blatchford said “I’m sure many people will view this as me simply ‘throwing my toys out of the cot’ but I’m simply choosing to move forward without being encumbered by ongoing games preparation, and preparing for what was going to happen after the games anyway.”
Blatchford is ranked over 100 places higher in the Olympic qualification rankings than Lucy Hall, but failed to reach the team on merit according to strict BTF qualification criteria, which required podium finishes in World Series races.
Following a recently requested review of the selection process by Blatchford, the BTF found their original selections to be fair and the decision to exclude Blatchford was upheld.
According to Blatchford, “The review had exposed to full public scrutiny the very serious weaknesses in the fair application of the BTF’s policy for selecting athletes”
Despite this, upon taking legal advice Blatchford has confirmed that she does not intend to expend any further resources in going through the appeals process at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Blatchford commenting on the final team selection said, “I bear the girls selected no malice and wish Helen, Vicky and Lucy all the best of British luck in achieving their goals and hopefully, contributing to the UK medal tally at the 2012 London Games.”
Liz’s manager VoloSport’ Managing Director Glen Duggan said, “I am proud of how Liz has handled the selection process with all its trails and tribulations. The courage and honesty she has shown is admirable, but in the end, she has shown the true mark of a champion to look ahead, and focus on the next exciting chapter of her sporting career”.
The decision looks as though it will close the door on Blatchford’s ITU triathlon career after 11 years and 74 ITU events, 44 top 10 finishes, 14 podium’s and 4 wins racing at the highest level of the sport. It is now her intention to look at transitioning to long-course triathlon with two or three 70.3 events.
Blatchford commenting on her short term goals said,” My main focus will be the Liverpool 5150 race July 1st, and then the Hy-Vee 5150 Grand Final in Des Moines, Iowa – a prestigious event which offers one of the sport’s richest purses. I am then going to be looking forward to racing some Half Ironman 70.3 races before a possible full Ironman in 2013.
“I’m experienced enough to know that you can spend, days and even weeks, dissecting a disappointment like this; over-analysing the situation; trying to piece together what has happened and asking why me, or you can pick up the pieces and move on.”
“Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care. It’s just about realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself,” said Blatchford.