By Paul Jones
Non Stanford’s dream of an Olympic medal next year looks to have been ended after she was left out of the revised Great Britain triathlon squad for Tokyo.
Wales’ former world champion has been overlooked for the three places in the women’s team with the three spots going to rivals Vicky Holland, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jess Learmonth.
Stanford, 31, who agonisingly missed out on a medal when she finished fourth at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, will now set her sights on competing for Wales at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Her only chance on an Olympic reprieve would appear to be if one of the named team drops out through illness or injury.
The British Olympic Association announced it had stuck with its original women’s team selection, made last year by British Triathlon before the Games were delayed.
Jonny Brownlee – who claimed bronze at London 2012 before upgrading to silver in Rio 2016 – is the only member of the men’s team named so far, although a second place is likely to be confirmed which could open a spot for his brother Alistair, the double Olympic champion.
Swansea athlete Stanford appealed the original selection decision after Taylor-Brown – the current world champion – and Learmonth were disqualified from the Tokyo test event in August 2019 for holding hands together as they crossed the finish line.
Holland, 34, was then upgraded to third place in that event – meaning she took the third spot in the team for Tokyo ahead of Stanford, whose year has been disrupted a knee injury and then the restrictions caused by the pandemic which left her grounded in Australia.
British Triathlon performance director Mike Cavendish said: “The test event for us was really key.
“Vicky, Jess and Georgia all performed exceptionally well at that test event. In reality it was their performance at the test event that was the biggest deciding factor for us in deciding to fill those women’s spots now.”
Like Brownlee, Holland will also be competing at her third Olympic Games.
The 2018 world champion became Britain’s first female Olympic medallist in triathlon when she earned bronze at Rio 2016, an agonising three seconds ahead of Stanford.
Taylor-Brown triumphed at the World Championships in Hamburg in September, after securing bronze back in 2019.
Learmonth won six medals on the World Triathlon Series circuit in 2019, as well as earning silver at the Grand Final in Lausanne.
“I want to extend my massive congratulations to Jess, Georgia, Vicky and Jonny, who have been selected so far,” Cavendish said.
Two returning Olympians and two Olympic debutants…
— Team GB (@TeamGB) November 4, 2020
“Whether it is your first or third Games, selection for the Olympics is a huge achievement. These athletes have performed exceptionally well to get to this point.
“We have undoubtedly selected four of the best triathletes in the world.
“We want to provide the best prepared and supported team on the start line and we felt preparing certainty to those selected and not selected so far will help focus everyone on the job at hand.”