Lee McConnell and Freya Ross lose Lottery funding

400m runner Lee McConnell is among those  to be left off the Lottery-funded list. Picture: Ian Rutherford
400m runner Lee McConnell is among those to be left off the Lottery-funded list. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Lee McConnell and Freya Ross have lost their place on the list of Lottery-funded athletes after UK Sport demanded that financial backing is limited only to those deemed capable of delivering Olympic medals in 2016 and 2020.

The Scots pair were among several established performers who, three years out from Rio, are set to lose their funding with former world champion Phillips Idowu and current world indoor champion Yamilé Aldama, also stripped of their monthly grants.

Only 22 contenders have been left on the top Olympic Podium tier with 16 more – including hurdler Eilidh Child and fellow Scot Jamie Bowie – granted some support through the GB relay programme. And UK Athletics performance director, Neil Black, claimed the squeeze left him with no option but to axe some of track and field’s old guard.

“It’s about winning medals, it’s about a business,” he said. “This is about public money, Lottery money invested in a programme based on success with a fundamental focus on winning medals at Olympic Games, world championships and Paralympic Games in the future.”

Six Scottish prospects – Lynsey Sharp, Laura Muir, Mark Dry, Allan Smith, Eilish McColgan and Chris O’Hare – were among the 44 included on lower-level potential funding after being earmarked for success at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. And Black believes Sharp, the reigning European 800m champion, will need extra time to go for a global gold.

“Knowing that she has a plan to achieve it, and believing that will happen over a longer period and not necessarily by Rio 2016, is why we’ve positioned her where we did,” he added.

Other senior Great Britain team members to lose their funding include Christian Malcolm (200m), Jo Pavey (5,000m and 10,000m) and Goldie Sayers (javelin).

Jenny Meadows, 32, was ruled out of her second successive season in 2013 after suffering a stress fracture to her femur, which followed the long-term Achilles injury which dashed her Olympic hopes.

Lisa Dobriskey, 29, and Andy Turner, 32, both endured injury-plagued seasons.

The major winners from the announcement are the women’s 4x100m relay squad, who are back on funding after their shock bronze medal at the World Championships in Moscow.

A year earlier they did not even manage to qualify a team for the London Olympics. The quartet who claimed a dramatic medal in Russia, Dina Asher-Smith, Hayley Jones, Annabelle Lewis and Ashleigh Nelson, are all on the programme as part of the relay squad, along with Anyika Onuora.

On the Paralympic front, medallists Libby Clegg and Stef Reid keep their top-tier Lottery support with Meggan Dawson-Farrell and Samantha Kinghorn promoted onto the potentials list. However, Shelley Woods was among a number of those who reached the podium at London 2012 who have been dropped following a disappointing season.

“We’re not rewarding past successes,” UKA head coach Paula Dunn declared. “We know it’s difficult after a Games but all the athletes were aware early on what the criteria was to remain on funding.”

Woods won marathon silver at London 2012 and the 27-year-old from Blackpool is a three-time Paralympic medallist. She Tweeted: “Very disappointed to hear @BritAthletics have decided not to fund me on the @uk_sport world class performance programme. #nothappy.”

Teenager Sophie Hahn, at just 16 and who won gold in the women’s T38 100m final at the IPC World Championships in Lyon, is funded for the first time.



Olympic (22)

Holly Bleasdale; Lawrence Clarke; James Dasaolu; Hannah England; Jessica Ennis-Hill; Mo Farah; Adam Gemili; Robbie Grabarz; Dai Greene; Sophie Hitchon; Katarina Johnson-Thompson ; Christine Ohuruogu; Andrew Osagie; Tiffany Porterl Andy Pozzi; Shara Proctor; Greg Rutherford, Perri Shakes-Drayton ; William Sharman; Chris Tomlinson; Laura Weightman; Nathan Woodward.

Paralympic (25)

Ola Abidogun; Hollie Arnold; Graeme Ballard; Paul Blake; Jonathan Broom-Edwards; Mickey Bushell; Libby Clegg; Hannah Cockroft; Aled Davies; David Devine; Kyron Duke; Dan Greaves; Sophie Hahn; Beverley Jones; Sophie Kamlish; Stephen Miller; Jonnie Peacock; Josie Pearson; Gemma Prescott; Stefanie Reid; Nathan Stephens; David Weir; Richard Whitehead; Rob Womack; Bethany Woodward.

Olympic Relay (16)

Men’s 4x100m - Harry Aikines-Aryeete; James Ellington. Women’s 4x100m - Dina Asher-Smith; Hayley Jones ; Annabelle Lewis; Ashleigh Nelson; Anyika Onuora. Men’s 4x400m - Michael Bingham; Jamie Bowie; Jack Green; Nigel Levine; Martyn Rooney; Conrad Williams. Women’s 4x400m - Margaret Adeoye , Eilidh Child; Shana Cox.

Paralympic Relay (2)

Katrina Hart; Jenny McLoughlin.


Olympic (44)

Meghan Beesley; David Bolarinwa; Dan Bramble; Lucy Bryan; Ashley Bryant; Katie Byres; Chris Clarke; Luke Cutts; Mark Dry; Zane Duquemin; James Gladman; Emelia Gorecka; Charlie Grice; Abigail Irozuru; JJ Jegede; Jessica Judd; Richard Kilty; Jade Lally; Eilish McColgan; Sophie McKinna; Mukhtar Mohammed; Brett Morse; Laura Muir’ Ross Murray; Chris O’Hare; Asha Philip; Isobel Pooley; Julian Reid; Leon Reid; Andrew Robertson; Sebastian Rodger; Jazmin Sawyers; James Shane; Lynsey Sharp; Allan Smith; Serita Solomon; Gemma Steel; Danny Talbot; Deji Tobais; Lorraine Ugen; Chijindu Ujah; Bianca Williams; Delano Williams; Jodie Williams.

Paralympic (23)

Joshua Bain; Olivia Breen; Jamie Carter; Josh Clark; Meggan Dawson-Farrell; Jordan Howe; Jade Jones; Rhys Jones; Andy Kaar; Samantha Kinghorn; Erin McBride; Dean Miller; Maxine Moore; Stephen Morris; Holly Neill; Mel Nicholls; Georgina Oliver; Stephen Osborne; Ben Rowlings; Will Smith; Laura Sugar; Isaac Towers, Kieran Tscherniawsky.