Burnett becomes Ireland's 40th Olympian for London games

Burnett becomes Ireland's 40th Olympian for London games

Derek Burnett has become the 40th Irish competitor to qualify for the London Olympics, but that is to be reduced by one as one of Ireland's qualified marathon runners has to be dropped.

The Longford man will compete in the Olympic Trap in the Clay Pigeon shooting contest after the Irish Clay Pigeon Shooting Association (ICSPA) was allocated one quota place for the event.

The ICSPA gave Ireland's 40th Olympian the spot on foot of his bronze medal showing at the European Championships in Kazan, Russia, two years ago.

Out of his four successive appearances at the Olympics, his highest finish was ninth at Athens 2004, which was not good enough to get into the top six and a place in the finals.

Elsewhere, one of four of Ireland’s elite female marathon runners will have to miss out as countries are only allowed to select a maximum of three contestants for the event.

Caitriona Jennings, who ran 2.36.14 in only her second ever marathon at Rotterdam less than three weeks ago, Linda Byrne (2.36.23), Ava Hutchinson (2.35.33) and Maria McCambridge (2.36.37) had all attained the required mark.

The quartet train together as part of the Marathon Mission high performance group and are good friends as a result. But the decision by the Irish selectors may put that friendship on hold at least.

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