BLACKPOOL will have its first Olympic shot putter for almost half a century after Carl Myerscough was named in Great Britain’s 77-strong athletics team for the London Games, starting later this month.
Blackpool Wyre and Fylde AC athlete Myerscough will be competing at the Games for the first time at the age of 32.
Having failed a drugs test in 1999, he was subject to a lifelong ban by the British Olympic Association until this hardline stance was overruled at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in April.
Since then, USA-based Myerscough has been battling to qualify for the Games, achieving his goal in the most dramatic of circumstances.
He required two throws in excess of 20 metres this season to be eligible for the team but he had only one to his name until three days ago.
Having failed to reach that mark in either the Aviva Trials in Birmingham or last week’s European Championships in Helsinki, Myerscough took to the internet to track down an event he could enter in Estonia and caught a late-night ferry from Finland to Tallinn.
It all paid off as he attained the all-important ‘B’ qualifying distance on Sunday.
Once he had qualified, Myerscough’s selection comes as no surprise. He has been the British champion for the past ten years and record holder since 2003.
BWF club president Howard Henshaw is a good friend of the Myerscough family, now based in Preesall, and of Martyn Lucking, the Fylde coast’s last Olympic shot putter in 1960 and 1964.
Henshaw has long supported Myerscough’s bid to have his Olympic ban repealed.
He told The Gazette: “It’s great news and Carl deserves it. I don’t believe he was guilty.
“Blackpool hasn’t had a track and field Olympian since John Kirkbride, who was a four-minute miler, at Munich in 1972.
“Carl showed a lot of initiative to find the event in Tallinn because it was a low-profile competition, so congratulations to him.”
Myerscough has not made the team in his other event, the discus, in which he won his second Commonwealth Games bronze medal in 2010.
The sprinter Dwain Chambers, beneficiary of a the same court reprieve as Myerscough, is also in the team.
GB athletics’ head coach Charles van Commenee backed the selection of both. He said: “We always said once the bylaw fell away that any athlete would be welcome into the team.
“There is no two-tier team. We will give every athlete the same support.”