Radcliffe criticises GB selection

Paula Radcliffe, pictured, said it was 'totally ridiculous' Peter Eriksson did not to select any male 1,500m runners

Paula Radcliffe, pictured, said it was 'totally ridiculous' Peter Eriksson did not to select any male 1,500m runners

First published in National Sport © by

Paula Radcliffe has criticised new British Athletics head coach Peter Eriksson just hours after he named his first team since taking charge.

Eriksson announced a 29-member squad for next month's European Indoor Championships at lunchtime, but was soon defending a selection criteria focused on beating the eight medals won at the same meet in Paris two years ago.

That has meant emerging talent was overlooked, much to the dismay of women's marathon world-record holder Radcliffe, who tweeted it was "totally ridiculous" not to select any male 1,500 metres runners.

Nineteen-year-old Charlie Grice achieved the qualifying standard of three minutes 42.00 seconds in finishing ninth in a world-class field at the British Grand Prix in Birmingham on Saturday, but was only third at the trials in Sheffield the previous weekend.

Scot Chris O'Hare, 22, tops the British rankings and is ranked third in Europe this year, but he did not compete at the trials. He is based in the United States and it is unclear whether he wanted to compete in Gothenburg.

Lower-profile meets such as the European Indoors have been used as a stage for younger athletes before but, after the success of the London Olympics, Eriksson said he was intent on keeping standards high.

"The first page and the first sentence on the selection criteria is that we will be selecting only top-six potential," said the Swede, who took over from Charles van Commenee last October. "None of the (1,500m) guys are top-six potential. We follow the criteria that was determined quite a while ago."

Asked if that criteria should have allowed scope to blood younger athletes, he added: "You can look at it this way. But we have a consistency in what we want to do and if we want to do better (than eight medals in Paris) we need the focus on the medal potential.

"Being in the top-six puts you in that range. I think this is a continuation to have the higher standard and not go lower on expectations."

Eriksson is confident Great Britain can beat the medal haul from two years ago after naming a team to be captained by defending women's 800m champion Jenny Meadows. Mo Farah and Helen Clitheroe will, however, not defend their 3,000m crowns as they instead focus on their preparations for the summer's World Championships in Moscow.

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