Adam Gemili misses out on 200m spot in GB squad for world championships

• Gemili’s spot goes to Zharnel Hughes for 200m
• Greg Rutherford fighting to be fit for world championships

The three-times European Championship gold medallist Adam Gemili, who missed out on Olympic bronze in Rio by three thousands of a second, has not been picked for the 200m at next month’s world championships in London after selectors refused to give him more time to prove his fitness.

Gemili, who has been struggling with a leg injury, had hoped to be given until the 24 July deadline but instead will have to make do with the 4x100m after selectors decided to give Zharnel Hughes, who finished fourth in the UK trials this month, the wildcard spot. The decision is bound to prove controversial but the British Athletics performance director, Neil Black, insisted they had to go with Hughes.

“The men’s 200m probably is the event at which we have the highest quality and strength in depth with a number of athletes capable of competing at the highest level, making a final and potentially challenging for medals,” he said. “In the circumstances we had to go on performance in the trials and recent performances and that meant that we chose Zharnel ahead of Adam. But Adam is a critical member of the men’s 4x100m relay team. Obviously it’s a huge disappointment for Adam but he will deal with it as he always does, professionally and appropriately.”

Britain’s best hope of a gold medal will again come from Mo Farah, who doubles up in the 5,000m and 10,000m, and another hero of 2012’s Super Saturday, Greg Rutherford, is also named in the team despite facing an uphill struggle to recover in time from damaged ankle ligaments. “Obviously this isn’t ideal,” Rutherford said. “But I am doing everything to give myself the best chance of success.”

Elsewhere Laura Muir has been allowed to run in both the 1500m and 5,000m after recovering from a stress fracture in her foot, while Katarina Johnson-Thompson will also be looking for success in two events, the heptathlon and the high jump.

Dina Asher-Smith gets the wildcard spot in the women’s 200m as she returns from breaking her foot this year, while CJ Ujah is named in the 100m team. However there is no place for the former Olympic and double world champion Christine Ohuruogu.

“Chrissy is a fantastic athlete who has achieved everything within the sport, but her performances coming into this season haven’t been at a standard required to be competitive and therefore we didn’t feel that it was the right thing to select her,” said Black. “Christine is very happy to try and support the younger, new members and team in any way that we would think is positive.”

Black also denied that the team might struggle to achieve their target of six to eight medals due to a series of injuries to many of the country’s best athletes this year. He claimed that Farah, along with Muir, Johnson-Thompson, Andrew Pozzi in the 110m hurdles, Holly Bradshaw in the pole vault, Sophie Hitchon in the hammer, those selected for the men’s 200m, and the four relay teams all had chances of a medal.

Said Black: “I don’t think we’ve any reason to be thinking other than we are going to be competitive for medals at similar levels to that which we’ve done before but we’ve all got to remember that this is the post-Olympic and Paralympic year.

“Despite the fact that London 2017 is a massive home Olympics for us, historically the trend is one of reduced performances in that year so we’re trying to buck the trend. Even taking that into account I don’t think we should be anything other than optimistic. This feels bigger for us than Rio.”


Sean Ingle

The GuardianTramp

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