Andrew Lemoncello has suffered bitter disappointment as injury wrecked his bid to obtain a late A qualifying time in Fukuoka, Japan, a mere day before the UK Athletics selection panel meet to issue the first wave of athletes for the marathon in the London Olympics.

With season revelation Scott Overall having as good as nailed a place by means of his 2h10:55 debut in Berlin, the Scot needed a time inside 2h12:00 to be also considered for an early naming himself and evade a demanding and more stressful ‘second round’ of qualification that stretches up to April.

‘Lemon’ started promisingly as he maintained a steady pace between 15:26 and 15:36 across his 5km splits and safely inside the target over the first half of the course, going through 10km in 31:04 and the halfway mark in 65:39.

But by that time harm had crept in in the form of a hamstring injury which was inevitably being aggravated as the second half wore on to whittle away his efforts to a 31:54 third 10km, slipping well outside qualification territory as a consequence.

The last act of the race simply turned a matter of agony and survival, albeit he may well have been better off dropping out and save himself likely further damage, as he floundered over the fourth 10km section in just 40:04 for his last 2.195m in a pedestrian 10:24 to say the whole story into a final time of 2h24:31…

Lemoncello will hope that his injury isn’t serious and he can get back into full training soon enough to set up a solid renewed attempt in spring. But for the time being, what is all but certain selectionwise is that Overall will be the only male marathon runner named on the first cut for London next summer.

Dave Webb holds an equivalent of an A standard as he finished 15th at the recent World Championships in Daegu, the selection policy ruling top 20 markers therein as such, but he could be likely to have to wait to learn his fate in April.

As concerns the race itself upfront, Josphat Nyambiri (KEN) ran away with the spoils on a fabulous debut of 2h07:36 over the distance (63:29 at the halfway point) followed by Japan-based compatriot James Mwangi in 2h08:38 filling the runner-up spot and local favourite Yuki Kawauchi in 2h09:57 to close out the top three.

The latter will be entertaining hopes that his showing could turn sufficient enough to convince selectors of granting him a place on the Japanese Olympic squad.

Irishman Alistair Cragg, who has been enjoying a second and even greener spring in his career lately, pulled out of the affair after going through 25km in 75:11 (63:29 in the leading pack at the halfway mark) probably down to some problem cropping up.

Full Results

http://www.fukuoka-marathon.com/results/index.php?lang=ja&search_by=1&taikai_nth=65

IAAF Report

http://www.iaaf.org/LRR11/news/newsid=63080.html

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