Athletics: Yelling laments lack of support

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The Independent Online

Britain's Liz Yelling will be more than satisfied if she achieves a top 10 finish in tomorrow's Berlin Marathon in the light of her lack of financial support from UK Athletics.

The Commonwealth bronze medallist, who was eighth in the German capital on her marathon debut three years ago, insists that if she achieves her aim it will be because of her own ambitions rather than assistance from the sport's governing body. Yelling, like other road-running specialists, had her Lottery funding slashed last year by UK Athletics, plus other benefits including medical support.

"I can use the gym in my home town of Loughborough but not the excellent physio and massage facilities available," she said of the UK Athletics High Performance Centre on the university campus. "However, it does upset me that I cannot even pay to use these, and for treatment which is vital for marathon running I have to drive for an hour elsewhere, using clinics in Milton Keynes or Northampton."

To support herself Yelling now has taken up various part-time jobs, including writing for a fitness website and contributing to sporting publications. "I'd like to continue my career as long as I can, although at the moment I'm surviving on a shoestring," she added.

Yelling hopes to be in the Great Britain team for next year's World Championships in Osaka, but first she needs to get the qualifying standard. Given her excellent preparations for Berlin, where she set personal best of 2hr 30min 58 sec three years ago, that should be a formality.

But another top 10 finish will be difficult. African runners will be in abundance and a fully fit Gete Wami will start favourite, ahead of her fellow Ethiopians Asha Gigi, Shitaye Gemechu and Zekiros Adanech. The main threat to that foursome is expected to come from Salina Kosgei, of Kenya, who has beaten Wami and Gigi in the last two years.

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