Australia to have smallest Olympics squad in 20 years

Sydney: Australia will have their smallest squad at the forthcoming Olympics since the 1992 Barcelona edition.

With the football team not qualifying for the London Olympics, the Australia contingent could fall below 400 for the first time since Barcelona Games where it had 279 athletes.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) had wanted to send a 420-member squad for the July-August event.

Chef de mission Nick Green conceded that Australia’s aim of finishing in the top five at London has taken a hit.

“We won`t have a powerful Australian team across all of our disciplines so, on that note, it is disappointing,” Green was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.

“It is still a strong team. It is just a shame football won`t be there.”

The Olyroos won`t feature in the Olympics for the first time since 1984 after their loss to UAE in the Qualifiers Thursday knocked them out of the London race. The women’s had also failed to qualify in September.

Australia football coach Aurelio Vidmar said the players were devastated.

“It would have been a big thing to go and represent your country and play at the Olympics, but it is not to be,” Vidmar said.

So far, Australia have earned 228 quota places for London. They finished sixth in the overall standings at the Beijing Games in 2008.