14 Apr 2012

Gemmel claims first spot for male triathletes at Olympics

3:05 pm on 14 April 2012

Kris Gemmell is the first male New Zealand triathlete to qualify for the Olympics after finishing seventh in the Sydney Triathlon won by German Steffen Justus.

The first New Zealander to finish inside the top eight was guaranteed qualification for the London games.

The other New Zealanders in the race including two time Olympic medallist Bevan Docherty, who finished 12th, will now have to wait on the New Zealand selectors to decide their fate.

Andrea Hewitt could be the sole female triathlete representing New Zealand in London, after her compatriots failed to fire at the opening round of the world championship series.

Hewitt, who's already qualified for London, came in third behind winner Erin Densham of Australia.

The other New Zealand women have left all the work in the hands of the New Zealand selectors after missing the final chance at an automatic nomination for London.

The pressure was on Nicky Samuels, Debbie Tanner and Kate McIlroy and several others to make the top 8 and join Hewitt on the Olympic team.

Samuels just missed the cut after finishing in 12th place, with Tanner and McIlroy the next best New Zealanders in 20th and 27th.

The selectors will now use discretion in naming their team, with two spots guaranteed for New Zealand but a third likely subject to New Zealand qualifying inside the top 8 nations on the ITU Olympic rankings at the end of May.