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.

British fury over Swedish coach's athlete picks

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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Who is Måns Zelmerlöw? Swedish Eurovision winner to co-host UK search for 2018 entry

Swedish singer, TV host, and former Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw will host the TV search for the UK's entry to the contest.

Who is Måns Zelmerlöw? Swedish Eurovision winner to co-host UK search for 2018 entry
Former Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Zelmerlöw will co-host Eurovision: You Decide, set to be broadcast live from the southern English city of Brighton next February. The venue, Brighton Dome, is where Abba won the 1974 edition of the contest with their performance of Waterloo.

IN PICTURES: Måns Zelmerlöw through the years

Zelmerlöw will share the honour of hosting with British presenter Mel Giedroyc, who is best known for her role as co-host of The Great British Bake Off.

The Lund-born singer was a household name in Sweden long before his Eurovision fame, having entered Swedish talent show Idol in 2005 and competed in Melodifestivalen – the Swedish show which decides the country's Eurovision entry – three times before winning in 2015.

His song Heroes went on to win the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest and since then he has become a regular face on Swedish TV, presenting TV shows, starring in musicals and even parodying Miley Cyrus at the Swedish Gay Gala.

Zelmerlöw performs at the QX Gaygala in 2014. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

He also hosted the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, held in Stockholm, together with comedian Petra Mede.

In that competition, the pair presented a spoof song, Love Love Peace Peace, as an example of how to put together a winning song for the competition. 

It made fun of some of the typical tactics used by Eurovision entrants, from elaborate costumes to elements of national folklore, with the chorus: “Love, love, peace, peace, four women baking bread, peace, peace, love, love, and a man in a hamster wheel.”

The UK could probably use all the tips Zelmerlöw can give them, having reached the top ten only twice since 2000, while Sweden has been the most successful country in the contest in the 21st century, with two wins and a total of ten top five results.

READ ALSO: Six signs Sweden takes Eurovision too seriously