Three of the best – Lynsey Sharp, Mark Dry and Eilidh Doyle are all being funded in the Rio countdown
British Athletics have announced their World Class Performance Programme ahead of the Olympics in Rio and the Paralympics next summer.
And there was good news for no fewer than 14 Scottish athletes across the spectrum of the sport as they received confirmation of funding.
A dozen of those have been retained from the programme announced in November 2014 while Fife-based Para marathon runner, Derek Rae, and relay runner Kirsten McAslan have been added to the lists.
Scottish Athlete of the Year, Laura Muir, moves up a ‘grade’ to join Lynsey Sharp in the Olympic Podium category and there are three Scottish athletes in the Paralympic Podium section – Jo Butterfield, Stef Reid and Maria Lyle.
Unfortunately, the tri0 dropped from funding at this juncture are Eilish McColgan, Libby Clegg and Meggan Dawson-Farrell.
In total, there are 138 athletes being funded by British Athletics ahead of the Olympics and the Paralympics in Rio – so the ‘Scottish share’ of 14 athletes holds up pretty well in basic population ratio terms.
In the Olympic Potential programme, there was good news as the ‘retained’ list included Mark Dry, high jumpers Allan Smith and David Smith, and middle distance duo Chris O’Hare and Jake Wightman.
It is also good to see the number of Scottish coaches involved with funded athletes rising with the likes of Chris Black, Bryan Roy and Ron Morrison involved.
All at scottishathletics congratulates the athletes being funded and their coaches and families on reaching this level. We also firmly acknowledge the clubs who have helped develop these athletes – at whatever stage – to be categorised in this way.
As a perspective, the funded Scottish athletes for the Olympic year of 2012 numbered seven.
Funded Scots on GB World Class Performance Programme:
Olympic: Laura Muir (Andy Young); Lynsey Sharp (Rana Reider)
Paralympic: Jo Butterfield (Phil Peat/Shona Malcolm), Maria Lyle (Tabo Huntley), Stef Reid (Aston Moore)
Olympic: Mark Dry (Chris Black), Chris O’Hare (Terrence Mahon), Allan Smith (Bryan Roy), David Smith (Fuzz Ahmed), Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman)
Paralympic : Sammi Kinghorn (Ian Mirfin), Derek Rae (Ron Morrison)
Olympic: 4 x 400m Eilidh Doyle (Malcolm Arnold), Kirsten McAslan (Trevor Painter)
Derek Rae – new addition to funding programme
Kirsten McAslan – on 4 x 400m Relay Programme
Funded by the National Lottery through UK Sport, WCPP selection is based upon the potential to win medals at an Olympic or Paralympic Games and is split into two levels: Podium (for athletes with the potential to medal at Rio 2016) and Podium Potential (for athletes developing towards Tokyo 2020).
UK Athletics has invited 21 athletes to join its Olympic Podium programme and 25 athletes to the Paralympic Podium programme. An additional 29 Olympic and 27 Paralympic athletes have been offered the opportunity to join the respective Podium Potential programmes, with 31 being offered support across the various relay programmes.
British Athletics performance director Neil Black said: ‘Looking back, 2015 was an excellent year for the British Athletics teams at both the IAAF and IPC World Championships, in Beijing and Doha respectively, and I am confident those we have invited onto the 2015-16 WCPP will build on the foundations and successes achieved over the last 12 months.
‘Our immediate focus is firmly on medals next year in Rio 2016, followed by London 2017 when we will host both the IAAF and IPC World Athletics Championships. From there, the attention shifts to Tokyo 2020. Our WCPP selections absolutely reflect that focus and all the athletes selected will be expected to fulfil tough performance criteria.
‘I look forward to working with these exceptionally talented athletes as we head into an Olympic and Paralympic year, which also includes the World Indoor Championships and the [European Athletics and IPC] European Championships.
‘I am particularly delighted that 10 athletes from our Futures Programme are being offered the chance to now join the WCPP. They are in addition to the 28 Futures graduates already on WCPP, showing the support pathway for our young athletes and their coaches is in excellent health and working just as planned.’
Doha medallists Jo Butterfield, Maria Lyle and Sammi Kinghorn are all on WCPP programme