Britain keeping Olympic trials to themselves

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The Independent Online

Britain's athletes will have next summer's Olympic trials at Birmingham to themselves. A dispute about whether overseas competitors should continue to be allowed to take part was settled at a meeting last night.

The Amateur Athletic Association of England wanted the trials to remain open, because the event doubles as their own championships which have accepted foreigners for more than 100 years.

But they came under strong pressure from the British Athletic Federation, and leading athletes represented by the 400 metres runner Roger Black and the high jumper Geoff Parsons.

A joint statement issued by the AAA, BAF and Black and Parsons after the meeting said: "The AAA's senior championships for 1996 will be open only to athletes eligible to compete for Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

"This is a significant achievement and has been brought about by the close co-operation of the AAA of England, the BAF and international athletes."

It represents further evidence of improved lines of communication between officials and athletes which hit a new low with pay disputes and selection rows this summer.