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Athletes handed European reprieve

Peter Philipp is heading to Munich after all Keystone

The Swiss athletics association has selected ten athletes for next month's European Championships - even though only five have met their qualifying limits.

Peter Philipp (1,500 metres), Felix Loretz (javelin), Rolf Schäfli (decathlon) and Simone Oberer (heptathlon) have all been told they can represent Switzerland at the Championships in Munich, despite coming up short in their qualifying attempts.

Switzerland’s 800 metres world champion Andre Bucher was also selected, less surprisingly, after missing the start of the season because of a fractured foot.

The Lucerne star is not expected to return to competition until later this month though at the Golden League meeting in Monaco, after which he will decide if he is fit enough for Munich.

Philipp’s selection appears the most justifiable, since the Chur-based lawyer did run under the European qualifying limit in early June – but neglected to declare the race as a qualifying attempt.

Loretz can also point to the fact that he did managed to throw beyond the higher ‘A’ limit required for Munich, even if he was unable to achieve the necessary second throw beyond the lower ‘B’ limit.

Schläfli was also close to making the limit in the decathlon, missing out by just five points at one meeting, while Oberer’s youth and her recent rise in form appears to have earned the sympathy of the Swiss selectors.

Ivan Bitzi (110-metre hurdles), Martin Stauffer (high jump), Christian Belz (steeple chase), Viktör Röthlin (marathon) and Nadine Rohr (pole vault) had already made sure of their places in the traditional manner.

Two more athletes could still join the squad heading to Munich. Anita Brägger (800 metres) has been given more time to qualify because of her status as one of Switzerland’s top runners, while the association has accorded Petra Pechstein (pole vault) the same privilege because of her problems with injuries during the qualifying period.

Both women must now pass the ‘A’ limit for their respective disciplines by July 27.

The European Championships, which are set to be the highlight of this year’s athletics season, take place on August 6-11.

swissinfo with agencies

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