The Swiss middle-distance runner, Anita Weyermann, has pulled out of Saturday's athletics meet in London, further reducing her already slim chances of qualifying for the Olympic Games this September.This content was published on July 31, 2000 - 17:02
A bronze medallist in the 1,500 metres at the World and European championships, Weyermann was seen as one of Switzerland's best Olympic medal hopes. But a series of injuries and personal problems have seriously threatened her hopes of making it to Sydney, even after the Swiss Athletics Association agreed to extend her qualification period until the end of August.
On Sunday the Bernese runner looked a long way off her best while competing at the Swiss Championships in Lugano. Weyermann could only manage second place behind Sabine Fischer. More worryingly, she was almost 18 seconds off the Olympic qualifying time.
The 23-year-old said her decision to stay away from London this weekend did not mean she had given up on the Olympic dream. "I need to give myself time to reflect," she insisted. "I don't want to be rushed into a decision. But, in any case, I won't give up on my objectives while there is still hope."
The Olympic qualifying period has come at an unfortunate time for many of Switzerland's biggest medal hopes. Like Weyermann, Marcel Schelbert is desperately hoping to get back to full fitness in the remaining weeks. Vevey's Corinne Simasotchi, meanwhile, has been forced to call an early end to her season after an achilles tendon injury ruled out any hope of meeting the Sydney deadline.
Switzerland was able to add two new names to its likely Olympic squad at the weekend, with the sprinter, Mireille Donders, and hurdler, Paolo Della Santa, both reaching the qualifying criteria in their respective disciplines. Their success brought the number of Swiss athletes who have qualified for the Games up to seven, a number which is unlikely to swell greatly in the time that is left.
swissinfo with agencies