Alyson Dixon will chase final olympic place

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ALYSON DIXON has been left chasing only one remaining Olympic marathon place after the first round of selections were confirmed for London next year.

The British Olympic Association selected Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi to compete for Team GB after they attained the Olympic A qualifying standard.

But this came as no surprise to the Sunderland athlete, who has just returned to training after suffering a broken toe and a fracture in the ball of her foot.

She said: “I expected Paula and Mara would get selection after their runs in the Berlin and Yokahama marathons.

“They are the fastest two British women and both ran inside the A qualifying standard.’’

Radcliffe, the world record holder, made a strong return to the marathon at Berlin and clocked a time of 2:23:46 – well inside the A qualifying standard of 2.31.

Yamauchi achieved the qualifying mark last month, when she clocked a time of 2:27:24 at Yokohama.

Three other women – Jo Pavey, Claire Hallissey and Louise Damen – have also achieved the A standard. Next year’s London Marathon will be their final chance at impressing the selectors ahead of the final team announcement

Dixon, the seventh ranked UK woman with a 2.34.50 clocking in the Brighton Marathon earlier this year, said: “I always knew that I will have to run at least 2.28 to be in with a shout of selection and this has always been my goal.

“I think all of us will be doing London as it’s the last chance to post an Olympic qualifying time. I just have to aim for that.’’

The 33-year-old has been on the sidelines since limping home in the World Championship marathon in Daegu, South Korea at the end of August.

The Chester-le-Street AC club member is now training up to 65 miles a week with some speed sessions added but her coach, World Championship 10,000m gold medallist, Liz McColgan has put her racing comeback on hold.

“Liz said I need to concentrate on training and forget about racing at the moment,’’ added Dixon.

“I’m off to Kenya on January 25 for a month of altitude training and the Sunday before I go is the Durham Cathedral cross country relays. I may race there but I would have preferred a road race.’’

H There will be no entries on the day for the 100th Saltwell Harriers Road Race on Saturday (12.30).

This is the oldest road race in the UK and the entry limit of 400 has been reached. Entries for the young athletes races, which start at 11.30am in the park, will be available.

H On Sunday, the Loftus Poultry Run takes place from the Loftus Leisure Centre at 11am.