Bath athletes boosted by National Lottery funding
A number of Bath-based Olympians have been given an extra spring in their step as they set foot on the road to Rio 2016 after UK Athletics announced its National Lottery funding plans for next year.
Hurdlers Lawrence Clarke and Andrew Pozzi have been elevated to the World Class Performance Programme's top-level Podium support bracket after successful seasons.
Clarke finished a fantastic fourth in the 110m hurdles final at London 2012, while Pozzi was the second-fastest man in the country behind his University of Bath training partner despite injury blighting his Games debut.
Sprinter Danny Talbot, a student at the university, will also receive Podium funding – which ranges from £13,000 to £26,000 per year – in recognition of his potential as a medal contender in the 4x100m.
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Great Britain's top two 400m male hurdlers, world champion Dai Greene and Jack Green, Nathan Woodward and Eilidh Child can also look forward to Podium backing next year. The quartet train alongside Clarke and Pozzi under national hurdles coach Malcolm Arnold.
A number of athletes, including Paula Radcliffe, Mark- Lewis Francis and Marlon Devonish, have exited the programme as they are not deemed to be medal contenders in 2016 or because they have not met agreed performance targets for the previous year.
UKA performance director Neil Black said: "Being part of the World Class Performance Plan is a privilege and not a right and athletes selected will be expected to fulfil tough performance criteria.
"We have identified a very talented group of athletes for support over the coming year and I am confident that we can build on the success of the last Olympic and Paralympic cycle, starting with the European Indoors in Gothenburg in March.
"Accountability is at the heart of this programme and athletes who have not met performance criteria over the last year will not receive continued support. It is undoubtedly tough, but that is performance sport."
Paul Blake, Ben Rushgrove and Kartrina Hart, who are coached by Rob Ellchuk at the University of Bath and all returned from the Paralympics with medals last month, are among the other names to receive Podium support. Teenage sprinter Sophie Kamlish, meanwhile, is rated at Potential level, geared towards athletes who are considered to have a greater chance of winning a medal in 2020.
UKA Paralympic head coach Peter Eriksson said: "We have had to take a number of difficult decisions in this funding cycle, but this is the strongest group of athletes we have selected to the Paralympic Programme since I arrived in 2009.
"We had an outstanding Paralympic Games in London and our focus is now on bettering that in four years' time."