European champion announces she will not target this summer’s championships and will instead focus her attention on next year’s Olympic Games in Rio

Jo Pavey is putting her family and Olympic ambitions first and has announced that she does not intend to target this summer’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

The 41-year-old won her first major title last year with success at the European Championships in Zurich coming just 10 days after she claimed 5000m bronze at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and is working towards what would be her fifth Olympic Games in Rio next year.

In order to concentrate on her Olympic build-up and balance her athletics career with being a mum to two young children, the Exeter athlete explained how she will sit out the championships in August.

“I have given much thought to the forthcoming world championships in Beijing this summer,” said Pavey, who earlier this year explained to AW how she is looking forward to combining road racing with track action in 2015. “I have come to the decision that I will sit out the championships this year to focus all my efforts on the Rio Olympic Games.

“Travelling to a major championships that are far from home requires a lengthy period away to adjust to the time zones and climatic conditions. A large chunk of last summer was taken up with the Commonwealth Games and European Championships. If I were to compete in both Beijing and Rio it would mean three summers in a row with lengthy periods focused on championship running. I feel this is not a good balance for my kids and so I am going to stay at home in 2015. In addition to this, I am also aware that I need to look after myself if I want to qualify for Rio. Without a championship this year I can back off a little and enjoy my racing which I feel will give me a much better chance of running well in 2016.”

The four-time Olympian started off with a 12th place finish in the 5000m at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, before improving to fifth in the same event in Athens four years later. She was then 12th in the Beijing 10,000m in 2008 before two seventh place finishes in the 5000m and 10,000m at London 2012.

Pavey added: “I trained extremely hard during 2014 and I believe if I push as much again this year I will increase the risks of not being at my best for 2016. Also, I am aware that conditions in Beijing might be hot, humid and potentially have high pollution levels.

“On balance, and taking everything in to consideration, I think it is a good decision for me personally to miss the World Championships. It’s a very tough decision as I really love championship racing. However, I am really looking forward to running some road races here in the UK and a few of the Diamond League track races.”

Commenting on Pavey’s decision, British Athletics’ performance director Neil Black said: “We are fully supportive of Jo’s wishes not to be considered for selection for the IAAF World Championships in Beijing. With a young family and the pressures that come with maintaining that professional and personal life balance we look forward to seeing her on the domestic and Diamond League circuit this summer.

“Jo had a fantastic 2014 and the end goal of this cycle is the Olympic Games next summer. The ultimate objective for her is to secure selection for Rio and we will be doing everything we can to support her journey to what would be her fifth Games.”

» You can read an interview with Jo Pavey in which she explained how she will “continue to be a runner forever” here