British Worlds Team Missing Olympians

Jo Pavey, a 2012 Olympian in the 10,000m, will not be in Moscow this summer. Photo: www.photorun.net

16 competitors from the 2012 Olympics are absent.

(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

British Athletics, the national governing body for track and field in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, announced today the names of approximately 60 athletes who will wear the Union Jack on their vests at next month’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow. Among those entered are 13 middle- or long-distance runners, including the likes of double Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah and world championships 1500m runner-up Hannah England.

“The team selected for GB & NI are a mix of defending champions, potential medalists, finalists and some really exciting young talents that we seen [sic] as future medalists,” said British Athletics Performance Director Neil Black in a statement.

Initially glancing at the list for Great Britain, it appears strong. In addition to Farah and England, Olympic 800m finalist Andrew Osagie and 2012 NCAA indoor mile champion Chris O’Hare are on the men’s side, while recent 800m standout Jessica Judd and Olympians Laura Weightman and Eilish McColgan are entered for the women.

But absent from the list are 16 distance athletes who ran at the 2012 Olympics, held in London just shy of one year ago. Of the 22 Team GB Olympians competing in distance disciplines last year, only six will toe the line in Moscow: Farah, England, Osagie, Weightman, McColgan, and Michael Rimmer.

Reasons as to why any of the 16 Olympic athletes did not get selected for the World Championships vary from person to person: Olympic veteran Jo Pavey is pregnant with her second child; marathoner Mara Yamauchi has retired; after a third place finish at the British Championships 10,000m, Scott Overall is focusing on the Berlin Marathon; Andy Baddeley, Barbara Parker, and Stuart Stokes have not raced on an outdoor track this year, according to Race Results Weekly’s yearly database. Reigning European champion Lynsey Sharp is out with an ankle injury while Lisa Dobriskey battles a leg injury of her own and will be on crutches for the next six weeks.

“Thank you again for all [the] lovely messages! Sadly, t scan picked up a grade 3 tear so I [have] no choice bt [sic] 2end my season here. :-(” tweeted Dobriskey on Tuesday. Two days prior, the 29-year-old pulled up 600 meters into the British Championships 1500m final.

Chris Thompson, a disappointing 25th in last year’s Olympic 10,000m, missed this year’s IAAF World Championships ‘A’ standard of 27:40.00 by a mere .81 of a second. With his 27:40.81 performance at Stanford in April, he earned a mark better than the ‘B’ standard (28:05.00). But, the 32-year-old was not chosen to join the team in Moscow.

Neither was Steph Twell, who had the 5000m ‘B’ standard of 15:24.00; she had run 15:18.60 on July 6 in Paris, .60 of a second off the ‘A’ standard. The women’s 5000m and 10,000m, along with the men’s marathon, have no entrants this year.

Not filling a full distance team — or entering athletes when they at least have the ‘B’ standard — has drawn the ire of some British athletes, including Parker.

“Very dissappointed [sic] not to see Steph Twell on Team GB for #Moscow,” tweeted Parker, who competed in both the 5000m and 3000m steeplechase in the Olympic Stadium last year. “What is the point in standards? If you gain a qualifying mark, it should be clear cut. An athletes dream shouldn’t be shattered by opinions!”

A number of rising stars are on the team Great Britain will send to Moscow. Judd, 18, has run 1:59.85 and finished second to Marilyn Okoro at the British Championships last week. Also in the 800m is Laura Muir, the European Under-23 championships bronze medalist for 1500m. England, 26, is ready to rebound from an injury-plagued season last year.

“I don’t want to get too stressed and too focused on medals and stuff when at the end of the day the most important thing is running the best race I can. That will bring whatever result I deserve on the day,” England said last week.

In 2012, Great Britain earned a total of two Olympic medals in the distance disciplines, both coming from Farah’s wins in the 5000m and 10,000m. Next month in Moscow, they hope to equal — if not better — the mark.

“A year on from the Games and it is great to look forward to Moscow with the selected team, as we take our first steps in the build up towards Rio 2016 and London 2017 [site of the future World Championships],” said Black.

*****

British athletes selected for distance events at the IAAF World Championships are listed below, along with 2012 Olympians.

Men

800m
2013 World Championships – Andrew Osagie, Michael Rimmer
2012 Olympics – Andrew Osagie, Michael Rimmer, Gareth Warburton

1500m
2013 World Championships – Chris O’Hare
2012 Olympics – Andy Baddeley, Ross Murray

5000m
2013 World Championships – Mo Farah
2012 Olympics – Mo Farah (GOLD), Nick McCormick

10,000m
2013 World Championships – Mo Farah
2012 Olympics – Mo Farah (GOLD), Chris Thompson

3000m S/C
2013 World Championships – James Wilkinson
2012 Olympics – Stuart Stokes

Marathon
2013 World Championships – NONE
2012 Olympics – Lee Merrien, Scott Overall

Women

800m
2013 World Championships – Jessica Judd, Laura Muir, Marilyn Okoro
2012 Olympics – Lynsey Sharp

1500m
2013 World Championships – Hannah England, Laura Weightman
2012 Olympics – Lisa Dobriskey, Laura Weightman, Hannah England

5000m
2013 World Championships – NONE
2012 Olympics – Jo Pavey, Julia Bleasdale, Barbara Parker

10,000m
2013 World Championships – NONE
2012 Olympics – Jo Pavey, Julia Bleasdale

3000m S/C
2013 World Championships – Eilish McColgan
2012 Olympics – Eilish McColgan, Barbara Parker

Marathon
2013 World Championships – Sonia Samuels, Susan Partridge
2012 Olympics – Freya Murray (replaced Paula Radcliffe), Claire Hallissey, Mara Yamauchi

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