Olympic Hopeful Gavin Noble currently sits 43rd on the all important Olympic Simulation Rankings with the top 55 to qualify for London.
While this may seem comfortable on the face of it a number of athletes are close behind and within striking distance. The final few Olympic places are also assigned to new flag countries or those who would otherwise have no representation at the Games through normal qualification channels meaning Noble has a cushion of just eight places.
With two points scoring races remaining, San Diego this weekend and Madrid on the 26th-27th of May, athletes will be looking to hit top form. Larger nations such as the USA, Great Britain, Germany and Australia are using the next two races to finalise their selection. This means as many as 5 or 6 athletes will be fighting it out to impress their countries selectors and make the team which can be a maximum of three strong.
Noble’s cushion of eight places would not be a concern if he had the opportunity to defend his position, however due to an injury Noble picked up at the start of the season his ITU Points ranking took a knock after he was forced to pull out of a number of smaller races. This point’s slip has meant Noble has not received a start for the two remaining selection races and is sitting on a waiting list in the hope that a number of athletes pull out of the race.
So who are the danger men for Noble?
The Italian David Uccellari ranked 44th and Tyler Butterfield of Bermuda, if he were to receive a start would leap frog Noble pushing him down the 45th position.
Andreas Gigimayr of Austria sitting 47th would need to produce a lifetime best performance and top 26 finish in one of the most competitive races of the last number of years to go ahead of Noble, pushing him down to 46th.
Recent Huatulco ITU World Cup winner, Simon De Cuper, Dan Alterman of Israel and Tellecha Gonzales of Argentina would all need two consistent results in both San Diego and Madrid however like Noble, not all have a start for both races and are on the waiting list.
“This will be a career defining race for many of the athletes and we’ll have a much clearer idea after San Diego.” Commented Triathlon Ireland’s High Performance Director, Chris Jones.
This means Noble and the Triathlon Ireland High Performance staff will have a nervous wait to see how the results pan out after this weekend. If he were to receive a start for Madrid he could rest a little easier as a points scorning performance there would guarantee his spot.