Paris Olympics Keely, KJT And Kerr Named In Team GB Squad

Paris Olympics Keely, KJT and Kerr named in Team GB squad

Yet controversial selection sees a number of Brits in the Road to Paris rankings left out of the team

On a day when ‘change’ swept through Britain courtesy of a landslide victory by Labour in the General Election, there was little movement at UK Athletics as the sports governing body stuck doggedly to its strict selection policy for the Paris Olympics.

Paris Olympics

Last year Jack Buckner, the UKA chief executive, warned there would be smaller teams in future for global championships and there would be more focus on the “big hitters”. True to his word, the squad for the Paris Games announced on Friday (July 5) contained a tight-knit 64 names.

They include British medallists from the last Games in Tokyo – 800m runner Keely Hodgkinson, pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw and 1500m runners Josh Kerr and Laura Muir.

Kerr is one of the reigning world champions in the squad, too, alongside heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who makes her fourth Olympics.

Notably, Jake Wightman has got the nod over Elliot Giles for the third place in the men’s 800m. The 2022 world 1500m champion missed the trials with injury whereas Giles, the GB captain at the European Championships in Rome last month, fell with 50m to go in Manchester when challenging for one of the automatic top two places.

George Mills will also double in the 1500m and 5000m, while Patrick Dever is due to run 5000m and, subject to world rankings, the 10,000m.

Jake Wightman (Athletics Images)

The cheers for those selected are in danger of being drowned out by jeers for the unlucky athletes who have missed out, though, with athletes now set to see places for the Games going to competitors from other countries who are lower than them in their world rankings.

Unlucky athletes who have missed out include hammer throwers Jake Norris, Anna Purchase and Kenny Ikeji, discus thrower Jade Lally, shot putter Amelia Strickler, 5000m runners Hannah Nuttall, Verity Ockenden and Izzy Fry plus 3000m steeplechaser Phil Norman.

Lally, Campbell and Norman are among those now set to retire following their selection dismay. In the relays, meanwhile, there is no place for CJ Ujah despite placing third in the UK Championships last weekend.

The age-old dilemma of whether to pick a small team packed with likely finalists or a large team containing potential “Olympic passengers” has reignited this week. UKA’s current strategy is similar to the one used in London 2012 by Charles van Commenee, with the head coach famously saying: “No one ever jumped higher by lowering the bar”. On the flipside, many athletes strive for years simply to make a team so they can proudly call themselves an Olympian.

Norris, who sits 18th on the Road to Paris rankings, said: “I feel truly betrayed that I meet the true aim of the current selection policy, but I am still not eligible to be selected because of an arbitrary standard set too high.”

Paris Olympics Keely, KJT and Kerr named in Team GB squad

Jake Norris (Getty)

Campbell, who won the British title last weekend in Manchester after being unable to walk a few days earlier with a back injury, said: “These policies are not right. They are killing the sport I have loved for most of my life. “I should be a two-time Olympian. Instead I’m retiring. I can’t get over the heartbreak any more.”

On UKA’s Olympic selection strategy, incidentally, look out for some thoughts from UKA chair Ian Beattie on the AW website in coming days.

Despite the disappointment felt by those left out of the team, Britain will nevertheless have strong medal hopes at the Games and the squad is full of up-and-coming athletes. Molly Caudery, for example, won the world indoor title in the pole vault this year and is the world No.1 going into the Olympics.

The GB team also features young prospects such as sprinter Louie Hinchliffe and the 17-year-old 800m revelation Phoebe Gill.

There is good news, too, for Eilish McColgan in her battle to return to fitness following injury. She has the 10,000m qualifying standard from last year but has done enough in recent weeks to prove her form is moving in the right direction as she heads toward her fourth Olympics.

Paris Olympics Keely, KJT and Kerr named in Team GB squad

Molly Caudery (Getty)

Women

100m: Dina Asher-Smith (Edrick Floreal, Blackheath & Bromley); Imani-Lara Lansiquot (Ryan Freckleton, Sutton & District); Daryll Neita (Marco Airale, Cambridge Harriers); 200m: Asher-Smith; Daryll Neita; Bianca Williams (Linford Christie, Thames Valley); 400m: Amber Anning (Chris Johnson, Brighton & Hove); Laviai Nielsen (Tony Lester, Enfield & Haringey); Victoria Ohuruogu (Newham & Essex Beagles); 800m: Phoebe Gill (Deborah Steer, St Albans); Keely Hodgkinson (Trevor Painter, Leigh); Jemma Reekie (Jon Bigg, Kilbarchan); 1500m: Georgia Bell (Trevor Painter, Belgrave); Laura Muir (Steve Vernon, Dundee Hawkhill); Revee Walcott-Nolan (Thomas Dreißigacker, Luton); 10,000m: Megan Keith (Ross Cairns, Inverness); Eilish McColgan (Liz Nuttall, Dundee Hawkhill); 100m hurdles: Cindy Sember (Chris Johnson, Woodford Green with Essex Ladies); 400m hurdles: Jessie Knight (Marina Armstrong, Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow); Lina Nielsen (Tony Lester, Shaftesbury Barnet); 3000m steeplechase: Lizzie Bird (Pat McCurry, Shaftesbury Barnet); Aimee Pratt (Thomas Dreißigacker, Sale Harriers Manchester); High jump: Morgan Lake (Robbie Grabarz, Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow); Pole vault: Holly Bradshaw (Kate Rooney, Blackburn); Molly Caudery (Scott Simpson, Thames Valley); Heptathlon; Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Aston Moore, Liverpool Harriers); Jade O’Dowda (John Lane, Newham & Essex Beagles); 4x100m (at least four to be selected): Asher-Smith; Desiree Henry (Steve Fudge, Enfield & Haringey); Amy Hunt (Marco Airale, Charnwood); Lansiquot, Neita, Williams; 4x400m (at least four to be selected); Anning; Laviai Nielsen; Ohuruogu; Yemi Mary John (Alan James, Woodford Green Essex Ladies); Hannah Kelly (Les Hall, Bolton); Jodie Williams (Stuart McMillan, Herts Phoenix); Nicole Yeargin (Vince Anderson, Pitreavie); Marathon: Charlotte Purdue (Nic Bideau, Aldershot, Farnham and District); Rose Harvey (Alistair Cragg, Clapham Chasers); Calli Hauger-Thackery (Hallamshire)

Men

100m: Jeremiah Azu (Marco Airale, Cardiff); Louie Hinchliffe (Carl Lewis, Sheffield & Dearne); Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills, Shaftesbury Barnet); 200m: Hughes; 400m: Charlie Dobson (Leon Baptiste, Colchester); Matthew Hudson-Smith (Gary Evans, Birchfield Harriers); 800m: Max Burgin (Ian Burgin, Halifax Harriers); Ben Pattison (Dave Ragan, Basingstoke & Mid-Hants); Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman, Edinburgh AC); 1500m: Neil Gourley (Stephen Haas, Giffnock North); Josh Kerr (Danny Mackey, Edinburgh); George Mills (Thomas Dreißigacker, Brighton Phoenix); 5000m: Sam Atkin (Mike Collins, Lincoln Wellington); Patrick Dever (Alistair Cragg, Preston); Mills; 10,000m: Dever – subject to confirmation of a qualifying World Ranking position; 110m hurdles: Tade Ojora (Joanna Hayes, Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow); 400m hurdles: Alastair Chalmers (Matt Elias, Guernsey); Long Jump: Jacob Fincham-Dukes (Matt Barton, Leeds City); Shot Put: Scott Lincoln (Paul Wilson, City of York); Discus: Lawrence Okoye (Zane Duquemin, Croydon); Nick Percy (Zane Duquemin, Shaftesbury Barnet); 4x100m (at least four to be selected): Hinchliffe; Hughes; Azu; Richard Kilty (Gateshead); Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Ryan Freckleton, Newham & Essex Beagles); 4x400m (at least four to be selected): Dobson, Hudson-Smith; Charlie Carvell (Stewart Marshall, Telford AC); Lewis Davey (Trevor Painter, Newham & Essex Beagles); Ben Jefferies (Bristol & West); Toby Harries (David Sadkin, Brighton Phoenix); Alex Haydock-Wilson (Earl Herbert, Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow); 20km race walk: Callum Wilkinson (Robert Heffernan, Enfield & Haringey); Marathon: Emile Cairess (Renato Canova, Leeds City); Mahamed Mahamed (Idris Hamud, Southampton); Phil Sesemann (Andrew Henderson, Leeds City); Mixed 4x400m relay [men’s and women’s 4x400m relay athletes eligible for this event]

Phoebe Gill’s Olympic qualification shouldn’t be a shock to anybody

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