Britain's first wave of selections for next month's World Championships in Paris yesterday swept Darren Campbell towards his target of the 100 and 200 metres double. It also left Michael East riding high as he was named as the sole representative at 1,500m, freeing him of the need to obtain the World Championship A qualifying time of 3min 34.90sec before the 11 August entry deadline.
The ebb tide claimed several disappointed athletes, notably the world indoor 200m champion, Marlon Devonish, who had high hopes that his performance in Birmingham four months ago, and the fact that he only finished 0.01sec behind Campbell in fourth place, would secure him an individual run in the French capital.
There was also an unpalatable backwash for established 1,500m runners such as John Mayock, the former European indoor 3,000m champion, and Anthony Whiteman, who has matched East's best this year of 3:35.49.
In selecting East, winner at the Norwich Union AAA Championships and World Championship trials, by virtue of the B standard of 3:37.10, the selectors have restricted themselves to one option unless the Commonwealth champion achieves the A standard by the deadline.
East, still taking in the selectors' statement of faith in his ability, indicated another 1,500m race was now unlikely for him before Paris, as he wanted to do the 800m at next Friday's Crystal Palace meeting. "I think I have to do what's best for me now I have been given this opportunity," he said. Asked why he thought the selectors, who have acted similarly with the 800m trials winner, Ricky Soos, had favoured him, East replied: "Maybe I've got Championship legs."
The bad news came at an awkward time for Mayock, who came fifth in Sunday's final. His wife Lindsey is waiting to give birth to his second child, due last Friday. "I had too much on my mind at the AAAs," Mayock said. "Maybe it would have been better for me if I hadn't gone. I thought the selectors would have waited until after Crystal Palace, which would have given us more of a chance."
Max Jones, the UK Athletics performance director, named 37 athletes in his first announcement, a number he expects to rise to around 50 eventually.
"The qualifying standards have ratcheted up in the last five years," he said. "This will be one of the smallest teams for a considerable time. The days of having one athlete in every event, and certainly the days of having three, are probably over."
He said the 200m decision was the hardest: "We have feelings for Marlon, but we have plumped for Darren. I remember I had a nightmare at the 2000 Olympics because I almost tried to persuade Darren not to do the 200 as well as the 100, and he won the silver medal."
Jones added that Paula Radcliffe, recovering from a leg injury and a bout of bronchitis, had asked not to be selected at this stage, through she was back in training. "She wants to compete, but she wants to compete with distinction," he said. "But if she has one more hiccup she won't be there. I would say it is 50-50."
GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND TEAM
MEN: 100m Darren Campbell (Sale), Dwain Chambers (Belgrave), Mark Lewis-Francis (Birchfield); 200m Campbell, Julian Golding (Blackheath), Christian Malcolm (Cardiff). 400m Daniel Caines (Birchfield); 800m Ricky Soos (Mansfield); 1,500m Michael East (Newham & Essex Beagles); 10,000m Karl Keska (Birchfield); Marathon Matt O'Dowd (Swindon); 400m hurdles Chris Rawlinson (Trafford); Pole vault Nick Buckfield (Crawley); Long jump Nathan Morgan (Birchfield); Triple jump Jonathan Edwards (Gateshead); Shot Carl Myerscough (Blackpool); Javelin Steve Backley (Cambridge Harriers). 4x100m Campbell, Chambers, Marlon Devonish (Coventry), Golding,Lewis-Francis, Malcolm; 4x400m Tim Benjamin (Cardiff), Caines, Matt Elias (Cardiff), Du'aine Ladejo (Birchfield), Ian Mackie (Pitreavie), Rawlinson.
WOMEN: 200m Abi Oyepitan (Shaftesbury Barnet), Joice Maduaka (Essex Ladies); 400m Lee McConnell (Shaftesbury Barnet); 1,500m Kelly Holmes (Ealing, Southall), Hayley Tullett (Swansea); Marathon Jo Lodge (WSE&H);
100m hurdles Rachel King (Belgrave); 400m hurdles Natasha Danvers (Shaftesbury Barnet); Long jump Jade Johnson (Herne Hill Harriers); Triple jump Ashia Hansen (Birchfield); Hammer Lorraine Shaw (Sale); Heptathlon Denise Lewis (Birchfield); 4x400m Danvers, Helen Karagounis (Birchfield), McConnell, Jenny Meadows (Wigan), Katharine Merry (Birchfield), Catherine Murphy (Shaftesbury Barnet).
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