by Mark Abernethy
partner Daniel Kalderimis is acting for marathon runner Paul Martelletti in his appeal against non-nomination for the New Zealand team for the Rio Olympics.
Martelletti – who lives in London – is the 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.
His non-nomination for the New Zealand Olympics team was announced on July 12 and Kalderimis lodged an appeal on July 17, in Sports Tribunal proceedings against Athletics New Zealand and the New Zealand Olympic Committee.
Kalderimis said the Sports Tribunal held a meeting with Martelletti and his lawyers on Saturday, in which Athletics New Zealand maintained its decision. Kalderimis says the expectation is now that the Sports Tribunal will expedite a decision as the Olympics approach.
“We expect a expedited response,” said Wellington-based Kalderimis. “If the decision does not favour my client a judicial review is also available to him.”
He says Paul Martelletti is arguing that the tests for selection was not properly applied.
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,” says Kalderimis. “This was from a field of 39,000 competitors, which was not limited to three entries per nation as is the Rio 2016 marathon.”
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 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.