British fury over Swedish coach's athlete picks

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British fury over Swedish coach's athlete picks

Veteran Swedish athletics coach Peter Eriksson has come under fire in the UK for "ridiculous" decisions about which athletes will represent Britain at the upcoming European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg.


The accusations from English long-distance runner Paula Radcliffe after Eriksson, the new head British Athletics coach, on Tuesday unveiled his first squad since taking charge.

Eriksson, who replaced Charles van Commenee after the Dutchman stood down following the London 2012 Olympic Games, announced a squad of 29 for next month's European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg.

But what irked British stalwart Radcliffe was that Eriksson appeared to have made his selections purely on the basis of topping the eight medals the team won at the same event in Paris two years ago.

That meant promising athletes were overlooked with women's marathon world record-holder Radcliffe taking to Twitter to say it was "totally ridiculous" that not one male 1,500 metres runner had been included in Eriksson's squad.

Britain's Charlie Grice, still only 19, achieved the qualifying standard of three minutes 42.00 seconds in finishing ninth at the IAAF indoor meeting in Birmingham, central England, on Saturday.

However, an unapologetic Eriksson said: "The first page and the first sentence on the selection criteria is that we will be selecting only top-six potential. None of the (1,500m) guys are top-six potential.

"We follow the criteria that was determined quite a while ago."

However, British 1,500m runner James Brewer, who competed at the 2009 World Championships, was unimpressed.

The 24-year-old also took to Twitter where he posted a mocked-up picture of Eriksson saying: "The important thing in selecting the British team is not giving an athlete the honour of representing their country but in wielding our power to deny the dreams of others.

"The important thing in life is not encouraging young talent but in saying, 'If we don't think you are going to be in the top six, you may as well give up now'," he added.

AFP/The Local/dl

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