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Hunt and Dent added to marathon squad
John Salvado
22:21 AEST Wed May 16 2012

Australia will send a full complement of six marathoners to the London Olympics after Jeff Hunt and Martin Dent got the nod from selectors.

The duo will be named in the team on Thursday when Athletics Australia (AA) adds several walkers and distance runners to a squad that is eventually expected to number about 40.

Delhi Commonwealth Games silver medallist Michael Shelley was the only Australian man to better the tough qualifying standard of two hours and 12 minutes set by AA.

But the selectors decided that as both Hunt and Dent had run under the standard of 2:15:00 set by the IAAF, world track and field's governing body, they had also done enough to earn spots on the team.

The two marathons were the only events where the AA qualifying mark was tougher than the one set by the IAAF.

Hunt, 29, has already contested two marathons this year - in Beppu-Oita, Japan and Hamburg - finishing less than three minutes outside the AA mark of 2:12:00 on each occasion.

He was also the only Australian to contest the event in hot, humid conditions at last year's world championships in Daegu, South Korea, where he was unable to finish the race.

Hunt's PB of 2:11:00 at Beppu-Oita in 2010 was the fastest marathon on debut by an Australian.

Dent, 33, was the best-placed Australian marathoner at the 2009 world titles in Berlin where he finished 21st.

Three Australian women - Lisa Weightman, Benita Willis and Jessica Trengove, have booked their places in the London Olympic marathon by bettering the AA qualifying standard of 2:32:00.

In other action, Australia are now almost certain to contest the men's 4x400m relay in London after the team of Steve Solomon, Ben Offereins, Brendan Cole and Tristan Thomas clocked a slick time of three minutes 1.58 seconds at a meet in Daegu on Wednesday night.

It moved Australia to 10th spot on the world rankings, with the top 16 nations to contest the event at the London Olympics.

The men's 4x400m has been a prime source of medals for Australia in recent years, including silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics, bronze at the 2009 world championships and gold at the past two Commonwealth Games.

Australians Kaila McKnight (4:06.54) and Zoe Buckman (4:07.52) - both of whom are already on the London Olympic team - were an impressive third and fourth respectively in the women's 1500m in Daegu.

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