Fewer athletes to get funding

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UK Athletics will today announce a reduced group of athletes who will receive lottery funding for next season, with the emphasis on those with major championship medal potential over the next four years.

The governing body have narrowed the focus for a place on their World Class Performance Programme from athletes with top-eight potential to those who are top-three contenders.

That will mean fewer podium-level funded athletes, the highest level of lottery support, which runs from around £13,000 to £26,000 and is in addition to non-financial help like access to coaches, facilities, medical staff and training camps.

Athletes who failed to achieve the targets set out for them at either the 2011 World Championships or this summer’s Olympics or those not considered medal contenders at the Rio Games in 2016 could be cut.

That could mean experienced names like world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe and former world 800 metres bronze medallist Jenny Meadows missing out. Radcliffe, who is 39, missed London 2012 through injury and did not compete either at the World Championships in Daegu the previous summer. Meadows, 31, was not selected for the Olympics and missed the entire 2012 season due to injury, while she failed to make the final in Daegu.

The likes of Commonwealth 1500 metres bronze medallist Stephanie Twell, former European 800m silver medallist Michael Rimmer, both of whom have been plagued by terrible problems, and 400m runner Martyn Rooney could also be under threat. So too could be members of the men’s and women’s relay teams.