Athletics: Steele earns late European call-up: Selectors under fire

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MARTIN STEELE, the second-fastest 800 metres runner in the world last year, has won a late call-up to Britain's European Championship squad. But the selectors are under fire again, this time from Sheffield's Jon Brown, winner yesterday of a 5,000m bronze medal at the Goodwill Games but left out for Helsinki.

Steele, of Longwood Harriers, has been brought in as a replacement for Andrew Lill, who has withdrawn to concentrate on the Commonwealth Games.

Clova Court and Denise Lewis have also pulled out of their specialist event, the heptathlon, to prepare for the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada, though they will do the 100m hurdles and long jump respectively in Finland.

The shot putter, Matt Simson, and the decathlete, Simon Shirley, will also be skipping Helsinki; and the marathon runner, Zina Marchant, is out through injury.

Brown, who is 23 and based in Iowa, claimed he was ignored while the selectors went out of their way to consider Eamonn Martin's late bid for a 10,000m spot. 'He was riding the crest of a wave and a lot of people were carried along on it,' Brown said after collecting his medal in St Petersburg.

'There is preferential treatment for some and not for others. I thought the selectors would show more confidence in me. I already had the qualifying time and I knew once I was over a bout of illness I would be running well approaching the championships.'

Although the deadline for European selection is not until tonight, Brown insisted: 'I wouldn't go now even if they did ask me. They can get lost.'