Leading law firm Chapman Tripp is acting for London-based New Zealand marathon runner Paul Martelletti in Sports Tribunal proceedings against Athletics New Zealand and the New Zealand Olympic Committee.
Over the weekend, Athletics New Zealand reconsidered its non-nomination of Mr Martelletti, announced last Tuesday (July 12) after a notice of appeal against non-nomination was filed by Chapman Tripp partner Daniel Kalderimis last Thursday (July 14). The national body presented its final decision on Mr Martelletti’s nomination at 12:30pm on Saturday (July 16), confirming that it would not nominate him for the Olympic Team.
A notice of appeal will be filed to the Sports Tribunal today (July 18). “Mr Martelletti is New Zealand’s leading men’s marathon runner, the holder of the Oceania marathon title, and the only International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) qualifying athlete for the Rio Olympics Men’s Marathon event from New Zealand,” Kalderimis says. “Here, there is no competition for places. For New Zealand, it is Mr Martelletti or no-one.”
To qualify for Rio, marathon runners must complete a time of 2:19 under IAAF standards. Mr Martelletti has done so twice. “The overall test in New Zealand is whether Mr Martelletti is capable of a Top 16 placing. He is. Despite being ill when competing in the recent London marathon, Mr Martelletti completed in 2:17:26, finishing in 21st place overall, indicating that a time of under 2:14 was likely to be achieved. This was from a field of 39,000 competitors, which was not limited to three entries per nation as is the Rio 2016 marathon,” says Mr Kalderimis.
Grounds for his Sports Tribunal appeal include that the Nomination Criteria were improperly applied and that evidence of Mr Martelletti’s illnesses during key events was not accorded sufficient weight.
Mr Martelletti’s coach, Nick Anderson, a former UK Athletics head coach, strongly supports Mr Martelletti’s contention that he is capable of a Top 16 placing in Rio, pointing to his recent training in Kenya, strong results in races prior to the London marathon indicating the likelihood of a 2:14 time if he had not been hampered by illness, as well as the difficulty of predicting championship marathon placings based on personal best results.
“Mr Martelletti is eligible, qualified and determined. We should not lightly deny competitive athletes a chance to represent and inspire their country, especially in a popular event such as the marathon,” says Mr Kalderimis. “If Mr Martelletti were the only qualified Australian runner, there is no question but that he would be at the Games. The result need be no different here,” Mr Kalderimis says.
New Zealand has not been represented by a male marathon runner in the Olympic Games since 2004.