AUSTRALIAN marathon champion Scott Westcott said he was putting the needs of his young family before a swansong international run by withdrawing from the world championships team.
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The Aberglasslyn father of three, who works as a development officer for Athletics NSW, qualified for August’s world titles in Moscow when he won the national championship last October.

But the 37-year-old has pulled out after failing to secure permission from Athletics Australia to join the national team halfway through their pre-tournament camp in England.

Westcott was due to run on August 17 in the marathon, which would probably have been his last on the world stage, but under AA policy he had to be in the Australian team camp from August 1.

He said the additional time away from his wife Jessica, their four-month-old daughter Frankie and sons Finn, 3, and Noah, 5, was too much.

“I’ve had my time and I’ve had my opportunities,” Westcott said.

“I would give my right arm to represent my country, but I’d lay down my life for my family. My priority now is three little ones and they are at an age now where they need me every day.”

Westcott asked to join the team nine days before his event. After that was rejected, his proposal to train at high altitude close to home before travelling to the event was also knocked back.

AA compromised by offering to pay for Westcott’s family to stay in camp at Tonbridge in Kent for six days, but the runner did not want to burden his family with the travel.

Westcott was disappointed with the outcome but said he understood AA’s stance.

“I’m gutted, but with my administrator’s hat on, I understand why it is the case,” he said.

Westcott was never selected to compete at an Olympics, despite running qualifying times for three Games, but has been to two world championships. He finished 27th in 2005 at Helsinki and 56th in 2009 at Berlin.

AA chief executive Dallas O’Brien was disappointed with Westcott’s decision but said high-performance director Simon Nathan and head coach Eric Hollingsworth believed the camp was the best way to get results against the world’s best.

“Scott is part of the athletics family,” O’Brien said.

“He works for Athletics NSW, he does a great job up there running the Hunter Track Classic, and we feel for him and understand his family comes first.

“We tried every which way to solve the problem for him, but it’s about achieving high performance at the world level and building team culture and morale.”

SCOTT WESTCOTT

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