This weekend the best of British will battle it out to get on the Olympic team—well, not quite. Fuzzy selection criteria means that some of the country’s finest athletes won’t be turning up and still go to Rio, while those that do and even win in a qualifying time, might not.
That said, there is an exciting depth emerging in sprinting, particularly the women’s 200m. Of all the events on the track, it’s this event that has the most athletes with a Rio qualifying time (10), followed closely by the men’s 100m (9).
Number of British athletes with Rio qualifying time, per event
See more qualifier info at road-to-rio.com
These numbers include athletes where the event isn’t their first choice (eg, Katarina Johnson-Thompson in the 200m, Mo Farah in the 1500m and Jess Ennis-Hill in the sprint hurldes) and other athletes who may not be competing on the weekend, but the sprint contests should produce the highlights of the championships.
So what do British athletes need to do to get on the plane? Significantly, they require two qualifying marks and to finish in the top two at the championships. The two qualification times shouldn’t prove too much of an obstacle for those on the track, since around 74% of those counted in the chart above have a second qualifying time in the qualification period. This includes Lennie Waite, who was left off the world championship team last year because she only had the one qualifying time.
Waite is also one of the 22 athletes (around 29% of the total) with qualifying times who isn’t on any of British Athletics’ lottery-funded programmes (podium, podium potential and relay). With these odds slightly stacked against them, we hope if they deliver at the trials they will be rewarded with a place on the team.
On the flip side, we’d expect all the podium-funded athletes (the criteria for this funding is “for athletes with the potential to medal at Rio 2016”) to go, so long as they are fit and healthy. Their priority is to get a medal almost 6,000 miles away from Birmingham, which makes the trials seem a little pointless in some respects. All will be forgiven though if they bring home a decent medal haul.
British podium funded athletes and their 2016 world ranking
If an athlete has more than one event, the highest-ranking event has been selected here