Massive funding incentive for Wigan Olympic trio

Leigh's Keely Hodgkinson has been offered top-level funding on the British Athletics Olympic World Class Programme.

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 4:01 pm
Leigh's Keely Hodgkinson

The 19-year-old – who is trained in Wigan by Trevor Painter and his wife, Jenny Meadows – won 800m silver at the Tokyo Olympics in the summer having burst onto the world and European scene this year.

She smashed Dame Kelly Holmes' 800m British record, which had stood since 1995, by almost a second in Japan.

In March she became the youngest British winner at the European Athletics Indoor Championships for more than half a century and the youngest ever 800m European indoor champion, despite not being on full funding.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Performance director Sara Symington said: "As we start the Paris cycle, and longer-term Los Angeles 2028, we made a number of informed decisions in regard to the World Class Programme membership that aligns with our strategic priorities.

"We will work closely with the 67 athlete and coach pairings that we are offering membership to and will look to add support and value in their journey via their individual athlete plan.

"The selection process is robust and lengthy and we use a lot of data which is complemented by the knowledge of our event leads to inform the decision-making process.

"We have given careful consideration to those athletes who meet the selection criteria and performance matrix which align to the future ambitions of the World Class Programme."

Fellow Wigan Olympians Emily Borthwick (high jump) and her partner Harry Coppell (pole vault) are two of the 26 athletes on the Olympic Podium Potential list for funding.

“World class programme feels!” Borthwick tweeted. “Took five years and everything else to get to this point.

“Thank you @BritAthletics for your support, I can’t wait for next year. Funded athlete babyyyyyy! Living my dreams…”

Coppell is also determined to take the next step after finishing a very creditable seventh at his maiden Olympic Games.

Josh Kerr moves up to podium level after winning 1500m bronze in Japan as do Andrew Pozzi, Jemma Reekie and Jazmin Sawyers.

Alex Bell, who came seventh in the 800m final, has been offered podium funding just two years after saying she was considering taking legal action against UK Athletics after being overlooked for funding for the Tokyo Olympics.

They join Dina Asher-Smith, Laura Muir, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Adam Gemili with just 17 athletes on top-level funding.

Reece Prescod and Zharnel Hughes have been downgraded to relay funding only, despite Hughes reaching the 100m Olympic final.

Olympic finalists Lizzie Bird, Jake Heyward and Marc Scott are among the athletes to be offered membership at Podium Potential level.

Andrew Butchart, CJ Ujah and Tom Bosworth have seen their funding cut.

Ujah will face a hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport's Anti-Doping Division after he tested positive for muscle building substances after winning 4x100m relay silver in Tokyo.

In August, the Athletics Integrity Unit confirmed Ujah had been provisionally suspended after a test showed the "presence/use of a prohibited substance (ostarine and S-23)" while a B sample also came back positive.

Ujah, Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake could lose their Olympic medals.

Ujah denies cheating and knowingly taking a banned substance.

Get 20% off our sports subscription package and stay up to date with all the latest Wigan Athletic news with a year’s subscription to WiganToday for less than 9p a day. Use promo code TRANSFER20