Reigning Olympic champions Jessica Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford joined by athletes including Christine Ohuruogu, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and record-breaking Jo Pavey on Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for Rio 2016
The British Olympic Association has named a team of 80 track and field athletes for next month’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Reigning Olympic champions Jessica Ennis-Hill (heptathlon), Mo Farah (5000m and 10,000m) and Greg Rutherford (long jump) will defend their Olympic titles, while 2014 European champion Jo Pavey is set to make history as the first British female track athlete to compete at five Olympic Games following her selection in the 10,000m.
Christine Ohuruogu, who won 400m gold at Beijing 2008 and silver in London four years later, has been given the nod for the final individual 400m spot ahead of Anyika Onuora, Andy Vernon joins Farah and Ross Millington in contesting the 10,000m, while Seb Rodger and Jack Green are named for the 400m hurdles but Rhys Williams misses out.
On the selection of Ohuruogu, who placed fourth in the recent European Championships 400m final in which Onuora claimed bronze, British Athletics performance director and athletics team leader, Neil Black, said: “It was one of my toughest calls. In the end you focus on who you believe is going to produce the best performance in Rio. There are lots of things overlapping with that. The decision was based on that we believe Christine will produce the best performance in Rio.”
Seven athletes have achieved the Olympic standard in the women’s 800m but the third spot has not been filled, with British Championships top two Shelayna Oskan-Clarke and Lynsey Sharp confirmed on the team. Chijindu Ujah has been named ahead of Richard Kilty for the final individual 100m place, with both athletes included in the relay squad, while Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake has been called up for the 200m.
“So happy to be selected for my fifth Olympic Games,” Pavey wrote on Twitter, with the 42-year-old having achieved the qualifying time at the European Championships in Amsterdam, where the GB team claimed 16 medals, five of those gold.
So happy to be selected for my fifth Olympic Games ? #Rio2016 ??
— Jo Pavey (@jopavey) July 13, 2016
“I’m very excited by this group of athletes and what I think we can achieve in Rio,” commented Black.
“There’s a real blend of experience and exciting new talent, with the likes of Olympic gold medallists Mo, Jess, Greg and Christine, selected alongside those becoming Olympians for the first time, like Dina Asher-Smith, Chris Baker, Jazmin Sawyers and Elliot Giles.
“This is the best prepared and arguably strongest team we have ever selected. We believe the world class level of performances this group can achieve will see us challenging for a number of places on the podium.”
Ennis-Hill, who followed up her Olympic gold by claiming the 2015 world title after injury and just 13 months after the birth of her first child, said: “Everything’s coming together now and I’m feeling good. Training over the past few weeks has been going really well and it’s been good to be back in the competitive environment recently. There’s still some time left before Rio to put some work in as well.
“London was an incredible experience and the two journeys to London and Rio have been completely different, which I’ve really enjoyed. If I was able to defend my title in Rio it will certainly be one of my greatest achievements.”
Six of the 65 medals claimed by Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics were won in athletics events.
Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletics team for Rio 2016
20km race walk
50km race walk