A look at the British Athletics Olympic World Class Programme 2020


Ben Williams Triple Jumper added to WCP.jpgBen Williams, added to WCP, photo by Getty Images/ British Athletics

We have asked Stuart Weir, for several years now, to provide the readers of runblogrun with a close view of the British system. The system in British athletics is quite different from the U.S. It is also the story of the last decade, as Team GBR has continued to excell. The success is due to many people, still involved and some no longer involved.

The piece below should make one think....

Adam Gemili  upgraded.jpgAdam Gemili upgraded, photo by Getty Images / British Athletics

Abi Rozuru long jumper added to WCP.jpgAbi Rozuru, added to WCP, photo by Getty Images/ British Athletics

British Athletics have today (Dec 2, 2019) announced that 68 athletes have been offered membership to the Olympic World Class Program (WCP) for 2020. There are two levels Podium and Podium potential. There are 16 athletes in the Podium category and 29 in the Podium Potential category. In addition 23 athletes are included in the Olympic Relays program.

The British Athletics website explains what the WCP is all about: "We offer places on the Olympic WCP to athletes with the potential to win medals at the Olympic Games. This stipulation is key to our ability to support any athlete via the WCP - if we do not believe that an athlete has genuine medal potential, they cannot become a member of the WCP, regardless of their world ranking, British ranking or competition performances".

The explanation continues: "Our underlying philosophy therefore is that the key to medal success is great athletes working with world class coaches in great facilities with quality integrated support services - the WCP is therefore designed to make best use of resources to support athletes on their journey to the podium. We have a vision to create a sustainable medal-winning WCP and pathway for athletes, which is capable of evolving with the sporting landscape to enable more medals in more events in 2020, 2024 and beyond.

The 68 athletes will receive an Athlete Performance Award (APA), a tax-free grant awarded to athletes in support of their progression towards the podium at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. For Podium category athletes this can be up to £28,000 ($36,000) and for Podium potential up to £15,000 ($19,000). In addition to the APA athletes receive access to national coaches, medical services including doctors, physiotherapy and soft tissue therapy services, comprehensive medical insurance and sports science support services. Athletes also have the opportunity to attend warm-weather winter training camps.

Membership of the WCP is for one year with the list reviewed on an annual basis. Compared to the 2019 list, there are winners and losers in the 2020 list.

The following who were not in the WCP program this year have been added to the 2020 program on the basis of their excellent 2019 World Championship and other performances: Neil Gourley, Abigail Irozuru, Chris McAlister, Aimee Pratt, Charlotte Purdue, Jessica Turner, Steph Twell, Jamie Webb, Ben Williams, Jodie Williams

The following 2019 WCP members have lost that status going forward: Finette Agyapong, Dwayne Cowan, Rosie Clarke, Adam Hague, Desiree Henry, Shara Proctor, Katie Snowden, Adelle Tracey.

Within the WCP Tom Bosworth, Jake Wightman who were Podium Potential in 2019 will be Podium in 2020, while Morgan Lake moves from Podium to Podium Potential. Wightman and Bosworth finished fifth and seventh in the 1500m and 20km race walk respectively at this year's World Championships in Doha Adam Gemili who was fourth in the Doha 200m was in the Relays category in 2019 but will be Podium category in 2020.

Two pregnant athletes, Eilidh Doyle and Bianca Williams, will remain fully supported by British Athletics during their respective pregnancies

Interestingly, Sophie McKinna was offered membership but chose not to accept as she feels it's best to maintain her current set up so close to the Olympics.

The full list of funded athletes for 2020 is as follows. After the name of the athlete, the athlete's personal coach and their club is listed. As we have explained previously all GB athletes are a assicted with an athletics club.

British Athletics Olympic World Class Programme 2020:

Olympic Podium (16)

Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie; Blackheath & Bromley)

Tom Bosworth (Andi Drake; Tonbridge)

Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson; Blackburn)

Mo Farah (Gary Lough; Newham & Essex Beagles)

Adam Gemili (Rana Reider; Blackheath & Bromley)

Callum Hawkins (Robert Hawkins; Kilbarchan)

Sophie Hitchon (Tore Gustafsson; Blackburn)

Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills; Shaftesbury Barnet)

Abigail Irozuru (Self-coached; Sale Harriers Manchester)

Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Bertrand Valcin; Liverpool)

Nick Miller (Tore Gustafsson; Border)

Laura Muir (Andy Young; Dundee Hawkhill)

Reece Prescod (Jonas Dodoo; Enfield & Haringey)

Lynsey Sharp (David Harmer; Edinburgh)

Lorraine Ugen (Dwight Phillips; Thames Valley)

Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman; Edinburgh)

Olympic Podium Potential (29)

Andrew Butchart (Self-coached; Central)

Taylor Campbell (John Pearson; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow)

Melissa Courtney (Rob Denmark; Poole)

Tim Duckworth (Toby Stevenson; Liverpool)

Niamh Emerson (David Feeney; Amber Valley & Erewash)

Tom Gale (Denis Doyle; Team Bath)

Elliot Giles (Jon Bigg; Birchfield Harriers)

Neil Gourley (Mark Rowland; Giffnock North)

Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg; Brighton)

Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans; Swansea)

Josh Kerr (Danny Mackey; Edinburgh)

Morgan Lake (Eldon Lake; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow)

Kyle Langford (Jon Bigg; Shaftesbury Barnet)

Chris McAlister (Marina Armstrong; Thames Valley)

Eilish McColgan (Liz Nuttall; Dundee Hawkhill)

Sarah McDonald (David Harmer; Birchfield Harriers)

Naomi Ogbeta (Tom Cullen; Trafford)

Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Derek Thompson; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow)

Andrew Pozzi (Santiago Antunez; Stratford-upon-Avon)

Aimee Pratt (Vincente Modahl; Sale Harriers Manchester)

Charlotte Purdue (Nic Bideau; Aldershot Farnham & District)

Jemma Reekie (Andy Young; Kilbarchan)

Daniel Rowden (Richard Thurston; Woodford Green Essex Ladies)

Jazmin Sawyers (Lance Brauman; City of Stoke)

Steph Twell (Self-coached; Aldershot Farnham & District)

Jamie Webb (Adrian Webb; Liverpool)

Laura Weightman (Steve Cram; Morpeth)

Callum Wilkinson (Robert Heffernan; Enfield & Haringey)

Ben Williams (Aston Moore; Sale Harriers Manchester)

Olympic Relays (23)

Amy Allcock (Glyn Hawkes; Aldershot Farnham & District)

Kristal Awuah (Matthew Thomas; Herne Hill)

Cameron Chalmers (Matt Elias; Guernsey)

Zoey Clark (Eddie McKenna; Thames Valley)

Emily Diamond (Benke Blomkvist; Bristol & West)

Beth Dobbin (Leon Baptiste; Edinburgh)

Eilidh Doyle (Brian Doyle; Pitreavie)

Miguel Francis (Glen Mills; Wolverhampton & Bilston)

Matthew Hudson-Smith (Lance Brauman; Birchfield Harriers)

Richard Kilty (Benke Blomkvist; Middlesbrough)

Imani-Lara Lansiquot (Steve Fudge; Sutton & District)

Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Lance Brauman; Newham & Essex Beagles)

Daryll Neita (Rana Reider; Cambridge Harriers)

Ashleigh Nelson (Michael Afilaka; City of Stoke)

Laviai Nielsen (Christine Bowmaker; Enfield & Haringey)

Asha Philip (Steve Fudge; Newham & Essex Beagles)

Martyn Rooney (Nick Dakin; Croydon)

Danny Talbot (Vince Anderson; Birchfield Harriers)

Jessica Turner (Nick Dakin; Amber Valley & Erewash)

CJ Ujah (Ryan Freckleton; Enfield & Haringey)

Jodie Williams (Stuart McMillan; Herts Phoenix)

Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan; Enfield & Haringey)

Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams; Newham & Essex Beagles)

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