NZOC pleased to have Eracovic
Wed, 20 Jun 2012 6:38p.m.
By Michelle Pickles
Kiwi tennis number one Marina Erakovic has finally been selected to compete at the London Olympics.
This was a much-anticipated announcement, but with selection rules stating athletes must be capable of a top 16 finish, the New Zealand Olympic Committee say they make no apology for the time it's taken to make their decision.
“The things that were really important were her ability to beat higher players, her ability this year in tournaments to have got through to the quaterfinals, she has a very competitive record on grass – those things in combination were really informative to selectors,” says NZOC secretary Kereyn Smith.
Erakovic says she was eagerly waiting to hear the committee’s decision.
“Last week or so I actually did feel a bit of pressure, I did feel like hey I would really like to know. Now I know I’m going, I think that peace of mind definitely helps on the court.”
Erakovic has a current world ranking of 45.
The tournament will have 64 players in the draw, meaning she'd already been invited by the International Tennis Federation.
“Tennis is a global sport, so we’ve always found it difficult to have that top 16, but we understand the NZOC have to have that criteria in place”, says NZ Tennis high performance manager Tracy Hall.
“We’re very grateful that they’ve looked into her case and looked into it favourably.”
An easier selection was that of weightlifter Richie Paterson.
Although he'll only go to London thanks to the super human effort of team-mate Tevita Ngalu who lifted with a torn quadracep to ensure his team got enough points to earn New Zealand the one weightlifting spot.
“It’s a special moment for me and great to be able to represent New Zealand weightlifting and obviously the wonderful story that come from the Oceania champs and Tevita on the world stage,” says Paterson.
Patterson's goal is a top 10 finish in London.
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