Russell confirmed on IOC system
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:
Leading Jamaican 400m hurdler Janieve Russell has officially replaced Kaliese Spencer on the entry list for the event at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Spencer and her management team were advised of the change on Tuesday afternoon, a day after team leader Ludlow Watts told journalists that Russell had passed a fitness test and would represent Jamaica in the event.
Russell, whose 53.96 seconds is by far the fastest time by a Jamaican this year and the fourth-fastest in the world, had to skip the National Senior Championships due to injury.
The 2015 World Championships finalist, however, received a medical exemption from the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) with the stipulation that she would have to prove her fitness by August 8.
When the IAAF released its list of entrants in the women's 400m hurdles, Russell's name was notably absent.
The Jamaica team's chef de mission, Vishu Tolan, explaining Russell's absence from the list on Monday, stated that because she was at the time an alternate in the event and was not entered to compete in another such as a relay, the Rio 2016 entry system would not allow her submission to be reflected, but that this would change once she is confirmed as one of the three to represent the nation in the event.
That confirmation was reflected on the IAAF and IOC's entry system late Tuesday night.
"When we looked at the Olympics entries system, it asked for three athletes. The three athletes submitted by the JAAA for the women's 400m hurdles were Leah Nugent, Kaliese Spencer and Ristananna Tracey," Tolan said on Monday.
"We were also able to submit an alternate athlete, which would have been Janieve Russell based on the JAAA submission to us that she had received a medical exemption until she has proven fitness. On entering the Rio 2016 Olympics Local Organising system, they would not have her entered until she is moved from that medical exemption or she is changed to one of the three; then the IAAF would not pick that up until she is named as one of the three because she is seen as an alternate athlete," he added.
On Monday, the IAAF had confirmed that Russell was not entered in their system to compete in Rio de Janeiro and that, having been left off, she could only now do so if the JAAA wrote a letter to the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) requesting the addition, with the JOA then having to pass on that request to the International Olympic Committee.
Spencer had finished third at the National Championship, but has struggled all season with a best time of 55.05 seconds.
Russell will be joined in the event by national champion Ristananna Tracey and Leah Nugent, who placed second at the trials.