Radcliffe funding withdrawn

The Bolton News: Paula Radcliffe has been removed from the World Class Performance Programme for 2013 Paula Radcliffe has been removed from the World Class Performance Programme for 2013

Paula Radcliffe heads a host of athletes who have had their National Lottery funding withdrawn.

The marathon world record-holder has been removed from the World Class Performance Programme for 2013, UK Athletics have confirmed. The 39-year-old missed the London 2012 Olympics through injury and has only raced one marathon since 2009, in Beijing last year.

UKA have narrowed the focus for funding from athletes with top-eight potential to those who are major championship medal contenders in the next Olympic cycle.

Radcliffe had been on podium-level funding, the highest level of Lottery support. Means testing meant she did not get any financial aid, which runs from around £13,000 to £26,000, but she did benefit from access to coaches, facilities, medical staff and training camps.

Several other senior names have also seen their funding taken away, including marathon runner Mara Yamauchi, veteran sprinters Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis, European 400m hurdles champion Rhys Williams, former European 800m silver medallist Michael Rimmer, Commonwealth 1500m bronze medallist Steph Twell, former world 400m silver medallist Nicola Sanders and 800m runner Marilyn Okoro.

UKA performance director Neil Black said: "Being part of the World Class Performance Plan is a privilege and not a right, and athletes selected will be expected to fulfil tough performance criteria.

"We have identified a very talented group of athletes for support over the coming year and I am confident that we can build on the success of the last Olympic and Paralympic cycle, starting with the European Indoors in Gothenburg in March.

"Accountability is at the heart of this programme and athletes who have not met performance criteria over the last year will not receive continued support. It is undoubtedly tough, but that is performance sport."

Athletes who impressed at the Olympics have been rewarded. High jump bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz has been promoted to podium funding, along with world junior 100m champion Adam Gemili, while rising heptathlon star Katarina Johnson-Thompson, discus thrower Lawrence Okoye and sprint hurdler Lawrence Clarke have been added to the podium ranks.

A further group of athletes, considered potential medallists at the 2020 Games, have been given lower-level podium potential support. The programme also includes Paralympic athletes, and amputee sprinter Jonnie Peacock has been rewarded for his T44 100m gold with podium funding.

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