Team GB prospects in Portland, by Stuart Weir


Porter-Ali-Harrison-Rollins1a-World16.JPGThe battle for the 60m hurdles! photo by

Focusing on this global village thing, we asked Stuart Weir, a long time writer on athletics, to give us his thoughts on the chances of GBR success at the Portland 2016 venue. Here is his first column.

Team GB has had great success over the years in the 4 by 400 relays so it will come as a big surprise to many that we have not entered relay teams in Portland. Who can forget Istanbul 2012 when GB had a rare triumph over USA, with Christine Ohuruogu on the third leg moving from fourth to first, leaving Perri Shakes-Drayton to hold off the legend of the event, Sanya Richards-Ross to claim gold?

But in an Olympic year, the priority is the outdoors and the official reason is that runners who made themselves available for selection did not constitute a strong enough squad to be competitive. Now if that seems strange given that GB funds relay squads, you need to know that the funding obligates the athletes only to be available for summer relays, not for indoor events.

Of the three athletes who achieved lasting fame on London 2012's Super Saturday - before repeating their gold medal achievement in the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, Jess Ennis-Hill, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah, none is in the team. Rutherford had planned to be here but illness scuppered the plan and Ennis-Hill opted out of an indoor season to rest an injury. Farah was in the arena but only as a spectator having chosen to compete in the World Half-Marathon championship rather than this event.

Another absentee, Hannah England, was impressive in winning the 1500 in the GB Indoor Championships and Trials and expressed real regret at not being able to compete in Portland as her preparation schedule for the summer required her to be in altitude training in France rather than treading the boards in Portland.

The first full-day ended with two bronze medals for Tiffany Porter in the 60 metres Hurdles and Lorraine Ugen in the long jump.

The disappointment of the day was James Dasaolu's false start.

Tomorrow we look forward to Dina Asher-Smith in the 60 metres.

Team GB is up and running.

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