Athletics: Brown to miss World Championships

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First the good news for British athletics. Jon Brown has acquired Canadian citizenship but intends to continue competing for Britain. Now the bad news. The marathon man, who narrowly missed an Olympic medal in Athens last summer, will not be running in red, white and blue at the World Championships in Helsinki in August.

Brown revealed yesterday that he has withdrawn from the British team for the main event of the track-and-field year after struggling to recover from his efforts in the London Marathon in April, in which he came sixth in a personal best time, 2hr 9min 31sec. "Basically, I have struggled to recover since London, and I'm just too far behind in my training to run at my best in Helsinki," the 34-year-old told The Independent on Sunday yesterday.

The news will come as a major blow to the British men's team. They might have received what the UK Athletics' performance director, Dave Collins, des-cribed as "a get-out-of-jail free card" with the retrospective revision of the rule-books that followed Britain's initial relegation from the Super League section of the European Cup last weekend, but they are sadly stuck somewhere in the Old Kent Road region in their search for individual medal contenders for the World Championships.

The 4 x 100m relay team were the only male British athletes to make it on to the medal rostrum in Athens last summer, and of the three athletes who finished fourth in their events, Steve Backley has retired, Dean Macey is on the injured list and Brown is now out of the team for Helsinki.

At least Brown has pledged to keep on running for Britain, despite gaining Canadian citizenship after nine years living in the country. "I now have dual citizenship," he said. "But this doesn't change in any way my athletics representation for the UK."

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