Cyclist Lucas Hamilton and steeplechaser Matthew Clarke have been selected for the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo by the Australian Olympic Committee, increasing the overall team size to 474.
Road cyclist Hamilton, currently riding the Tour de France, replaces Cameron Meyer who withdrew from the team this week due to family circumstances, while Clarke secured a last-minute quota roll down to earn his Olympic debut.
Hamilton, 25, already has two top-10 finishes in major stage races this year, finishing fourth in Paris-Nice and tenth in Volta Catalunya in March.
Meet Matthew & Lucas
Clarke came achingly close to securing a Tokyo qualifying time of 8.22.00, clocking 8.22.62 and 8.22.13 runs in June just days before the qualification deadline closed, leaving him just one spot out of the world ranking qualification berths for Tokyo. A withdrawal this week of a foreign athlete however has rekindled Clarke’s Olympic dream, with the 26-year-old South Australian securing the roll down quota and booking his ticket to Tokyo.
Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team Ian Chesterman welcomed the athletes to the Team.
“Congratulations to Lucas and Matthew on making the Team for Tokyo and making their Olympic debut,” Mr Chesterman said.
“We are thrilled to have both of these highly dedicated athletes on the Australian Olympic Team and we know they will represent Australia, their sport, teammates and families with distinction.
“To Cam and his family, we know it is a tough time, and you are in our thoughts.”
Clarke’s inclusion further adds to Australia’s biggest ever Athletics team for an overseas Olympics, bringing the squad to 64.
“It’s so surreal to not only be selected but for it to have happened the way it did,” Clarke said. “I woke up this morning and asked my girlfriend if the selection was real or a dream. I couldn’t comprehend it but it is a real dream come true to be going to the Olympics.”
“I came so close to the automatic qualifier in the last few days before the qualification deadline. The top 45 are offered spots to compete at the Olympics, and after the roll down I was ranked number 46 which was heartbreaking. It’s a one in a thousand chance that someone would pull out.
“When I saw my phone ringing, I had a butterfly feeling inside my stomach but when Athletics Australia told me that they had some good news, I started crying.”