British Athletics has named 112 athletes who have been offered support through the World Class Programme for 2017/2018.
The top-level group ‘Olympic Podium’ includes Callum Hawkins, Dina Asher-Smith, Mo Farah and Laura Muir.
Hawkins has been promoted to Olympic Podium level for 2017 18, after his fourth-place finish in the marathon at the IAAF World Championships.
Farah, who has retired from the track to focus on the roads has also been included amongst the Olympic Podium level – although he has previously stated he is unlikely to represent Great Britain at a major championships again.
Following his retirement from the track, the 10-time global gold medalist told the Guardian “It’s been incredible. But I won’t be competing for Great Britain again. In terms of major championships, I won’t be taking part.”
However, he did add if he was the indisputable best in the world he might reconsider. “If I am the best at the marathon, I might compete. It depends,” Farah added. “But it’s going to take me at least two or three marathons to get it right, to learn from it. It’s not easy.”
Possibly now with the funding support and Farah returning to London from his US base, his intentions to target the marathon at Toyko 2020 might alter.
Commenting on Farah, British Athletics Performance Director, Neil Black said: “It will be Mo’s first year committing to performances on the road, and he is still exploring options of how this will progress. There is the possibility that he could represent the British team at a major championship over the marathon distance in the future, so we will monitor this first year and continue to support him in his ambitions.”
Athletes can choose if they do not wish to accept the WCP funding, with Jess Judd being one such athlete. Judd had an impressive summer clocking a personal best over 1500m to reach the semi-finals at the World Championships, before going on to clinch bronze over 5,000m at the World University Games.
Laura Weightman, who finished sixth in the 1500m final in London without any financial backing, will again begin this season in a similar fashion – at present, it is unclear if Weightman wasn’t offered or turned down funding.
My 2017 without funding:
-6th at the World Championships
-1500m 4:00.71 (best in 3 years)
-800m 2:01.87 PB
-Road Mile 4:17.6 British Record
-5000m 15:08.24 PB
Funding doesn't define me. My team, hard work and love for the sport does 💃🏻
— Laura Weightman (@LauraWeightman) November 10, 2017
Following London 2017 Weightman went on to break the British mile road record in September and told Fast Running at the time: “Getting removed from funding [2016-17] was obviously pretty frustrating and a bit upsetting to be told I was no longer good enough on the back of making an Olympic final.
“I think this year I’ve really shown what I’m capable of and that I’m not someone to forget about. In the back of your mind, all year you kind of want to get out there and race even harder to prove those wrong that doubted you, but I think it’s testament to the team that works with me.”
Reigning British indoor 800m champion, Guy Learmonth is among those to miss out. Learmonth, 25, made it through to the 800m semi-finals at the World Championships in August and the second fastest Scottish athlete of all-time over the distance.
On the sprinting front, Adam Gemili and Zharnel Hughes have been named on the Olympic podium funding list. CJ Ujah, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Danny Talbot are named on the Olympic relay list, while Harry Aikines-Aryeetey misses out for 2017-18.
The breakdown in the number of athletes on the various levels is: Olympic Podium (15), Paralympic Podium (31), Olympic Podium Potential (23), Paralympic Podium Potential (18) and Olympic Relays (25).
British Athletics determines that an athlete offered membership on the UK Sport’s National Lottery funded initiative has a realistic potential 2020 or 2024 Olympic medallist in either individual or relay events or a realistic potential 2020 or 2024 Paralympic medallist.
“On the back of the most successful World Para Athletics Championships in the modern era, and achieving our medal targets and finishing fourth in the placings table at the IAAF World Championships this summer, our World Class Programme reflects upon the criteria for medal potential as we progress through the Tokyo cycle ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020,” added Black.
In terms of the support packages for Nigel Levine and James Ellington, who were both involved in a serious motorbike crash at the start of 2017, there are different plans in place for each athlete. “Nigel’s recovery from that accident is at an advanced stage in terms of his ability to compete again. As such we are able to retain him on the WCPP in his capacity as a relay athlete.
“Whilst James won’t be funded by the WCPP in 2018, in co-operation with UK Sport, British Athletics will maintain the support package and APA to him at the same levels with a series of pre-agreed quarterly progress targets in place whilst we oversee his continued rehabilitation following the injuries he sustained last year,” explained Black.
Full list of athletes and World Class Programme levels
Olympic Podium (15):
Paralympic Podium: (31)
Libby Clegg – Chris Clarke (Guide Runner)
Olympic Podium Potential: (23)
Paralympic Podium Potential: (18)
Olympic Relays: (25)
Matt Hudson Smith