Streamlined British team announced for Budapest

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Technical Director Stephen Maguire defends UK Athletics’ selection policy as 51 athletes get the nod for World Championships

UK Athletics Technical Director Stephen Maguire says he has “no issues” with the streamlined Great Britain and Ireland team which has been selected to compete at next month’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

A total of 51 athletes have met what many feel to have been a particularly strict criteria, with some additions to be made next week when World Athletics send out their invitations based on rankings.

The sport’s governing body in Britain will not be accepting all of those invitations, however, as they follow a selection policy which is based on an athlete’s ability to hit a certain standard, prove their form, then challenge for the top eight of an event or to be in medal contention at world level.

A number of athletes who are due to receive invitations have spoken out in recent days with dismay that they will not be given the chance to compete, with some even threatening legal action or even suggesting they would self-fund their way to Hungary.

Maguire insists, however, that taking a smaller team – 77 went to last year’s championships in Oregon – matches the “clarity” of criteria which was announced some months ago.

Stephen Maguire (Getty)

“I have no issues with that at all when it comes down to the clarity of what we’re trying to do,” he said of the team size. “It’s about the ability to make a final and the ability to challenge for a medal. There are standards we have set in place, and form is a big one, so I’m happy with the squad. The crossbar has been raised and I think it’s a nice, strong squad.

“There’s an awareness of the policy there. I think it is fair for me to recognise that athletes will be hurt because they haven’t made standards and they’ll see it as tough standards. The world and Olympic standards are tough. [But] I think our policy is really clear.”

The likes of Keely Hodgkinson, Dina Asher-Smith, Laura Muir, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and the in-form 100m and 200m British record-holder Zharnel Hughes lead the team.

Newly crowned European U23 champion Megan Keith will head to her first World Championships, as will Isabelle Boffey in the women’s 800m while Eilish McColgan – the Commonwealth 10,000m champion who was in record-breaking form earlier this year but has struggled with injury since having to withdraw from her marathon debut in London back in April – receives a discretionary place in the 25-lap event.

It’s on the men’s side where resources look thinner, with just 13 athletes selected for individual events and European discus bronze medallist Lawrence Okoye currently representing the only male field eventer on the team.

“We do have to invest in field events and we do have to look at how are we going to make sure that’s better?” says Maguire. “How are we going to close the gaps? We do have gaps.”

There will be those who argue that gaining major championships experience is a key part of what creates medal contenders and that it’s in the sport’s best interests to take as big a team as possible but Maguire, citing the 115 British athletes who were taken to last year’s European Championships as an example, says there are other international competition opportunities available on the current pathway outside of world and Olympic level.

There will be another European Championships, not to mention the Olympics, to aim for next year and he added: “We’re not trying to hide anything. This isn’t about cost. This isn’t about it being too expensive. If we had 80 people making the team at this level that we’ve set, then hallelujah, that’s great.

“But [it’s about] let’s have a nice crossbar, let’s have a very clear philosophy within the sport that people understand, and that’s what we’ve done.”

The Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for the 2023 World Athletics Championships:

Women

100m:

Dina Asher-Smith, Imani-Lara Lansiquot, Daryll Neita

200m:

Dina Asher-Smith, Daryll Neita, Bianca Williams

400m:

Victoria Ohuruogu, Ama Pipi

800m:

Isabelle Boffey, Keely Hodgkinson, Jemma Reekie

1500m:

Melissa Courtney-Bryant, Laura Muir, Katie Snowden

5000m:

Megan Keith, Amy-Eloise Markovc

10,000m:

Eilish McColgan, Jessica Warner-Judd

3000m Steeplechase:

Aimee Pratt

100m Hurdles:

Cindy Sember

400m Hurdles:

Jessie Knight

4x100m Relay:

Dina Asher-Smith, Alyson Bell, Imani-Lara Lansiquot, Daryll Neita, Asha Phillip *subject to fitness, Annie Tagoe, Bianca Williams

4x400m Relay:

Amber Anning, Yemi Mary John, Jessie Knight, Laviai Nielsen, Victoria Ohuruogu, Ama Pipi, Nicole Yeargin

High Jump:

Morgan Lake

Pole Vault:

Molly Caudery

Long Jump:

Jazmin Sawyers

Heptathlon:

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Marathon:

Natasha Cockram (Robert Hawkins, Micky Morris Racing Team)

 

Men

100m:

Eugene Amo-Dadzie, Zharnel Hughes, Reece Prescod

200m:

Zharnel Hughes

400m:

Matthew Hudson-Smith

800m:

Max Burgin, Ben Pattison, Daniel Rowden

1500m:

Elliot Giles, Neil Gourley, Josh Kerr

110m Hurdles:

Tade Ojora

4x100m Relay:

Eugene Amo-Dadzie, Jeremiah Azu, Jona Efoloko, Adam Gemili, Zharnel Hughes, Reece Prescod

4x400m Relay:

Joe Brier Lewis Davey, Charlie Dobson, Alex Haydock-Wilson, Matthew Hudson-Smith, Rio Mitcham

Discus:

Lawrence Okoye

Mixed 4x400m Relay:

All athletes involved in the women’s and men’s 4x400m relay squads.



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