In the second of our ‘state of the nation’ reports, Steve Smythe considers the strengths and weaknesses in the British women’s team

Our last report looked at the men’s prospects for 2017. Now Steve Smythe looks at the health of the women’s GB team following Jessica Ennis-Hill’s retirement.

For much more detailed analysis, including top three predictions for London 2017 in each event, see the January 12 edition of AW magazine, which is available to buy and read digitally here.

Women’s sprints

British women’s sprinting was a high standard last year with six at 11.23 or faster in the 100m and a relay medal should beckon.

There are plenty of good junior prospects too.

With Christine Ohuruogu well off her best and drawing towards the end of a glorious career, the 400m scene is not as promising.

Britain won a 4x400m medal in Rio but could be hard pressed to repeat, as Bahamas are unlikely to rest Olympic champion Shaunae Miller from the heats as they did in Rio!

Likely London 2017 team:
100m: Desiree Henry, Daryl Neita, Asha Philip
200m: Dina Asher-Smith, Jodie Williams, Bianca Williams
400m: Emily Diamond, Christine Ohuruogu, Seren Bundy-Davies

100m prospect: Imani Lansiquot
200m prospect: Ama Pipi
400m prospect: Laviai Nelson

Women’s middle-distances

The women’s 800m is arguably Britain’s top event with an average of 10 in the world’s top 100 the last three seasons. Lynsey Sharp was sixth in the Olympics and has every chance of placing higher in London.

Based on recent championships, Britain has every chance of two finalists at 1500m in London. Laura Weightman has a knack of making major finals, while Laura Muir showed in London and Paris last year that she can beat anyone on her day and with the right tactics.

Likely London 2017 team:
800m: Lynsey Sharp, Shelayna Oskan-Clarke, Adelle Tracey
1500m: Laura Muir, Laura Weightman, Hannah England

800m prospect: Katy Ann McDonald
1500m prospect: Sarah McDonald

Women’s endurance

Both Eilish McColgan and Steph Twell have made 5000m global finals the last two seasons and could repeat. Should she run the 5000m, Laura Muir could surprise.

At 10,000m, Jess Andrews came from nowhere to run well in the Olympics and will probably lead the UK team under her newly-married name of Jess Martin. Jo Pavey was Britain’s top 10,000m runner in 2016 but is likely to be having another go at the marathon.

While Alyson Dixon and Sonia Samuels performed admirably in Rio and Charlotte Purdue ran 2:30 in the Autumn, not a single Briton ranked in the world top 100 last year and probably only Pavey has the speed for a potential top-10 place.

Steeplechase standards have been poor in the UK in recent seasons and, while Lennie Waite could make the team, she would need a big improvement to make the final.

Likely London 2017 team:
5000m: Steph Twell, Eilish McColgan, Emelia Gorecka (or Muir if she doubles)
10,000m: Jess Martin, Kate Avery, Beth Potter
3000m steeplechase: Lennie Waite
Marathon: Jo Pavey, Charlotte Purdue, Alyson Dixon

5000m prospect: Bobby Clay
Marathon prospects: Lily Partridge, Gemma Steel

Women’s hurdles

British 100m hurdles standards are encouraging. Both Cindy Ofili and Tiffany Porter have outside medal shots at London if at their best, though Porter was not in 2016.

The consistent Eilidh Doyle will be thereabouts in the top six at London and remains a vital part of the 4x400m team but just seems short of the speed to challenge for an individual medal.

Likely London 2017 team:
100m hurdles: Cindy Ofili, Tiffany Porter, Lucy Hatton
400m hurdles: Eilidh Doyle, Meghan Beesley

100m hurdles prospect: Alicia Barrett
400m hurdles prospect: Shona Richards

Women’s jumps

UK women’s jump standards are high. Having high jumped 1.98m in the Rio heptathlon, Katarina Johnson-Thompson could make an impact in the individual event if she contested it.

In the pole vault, Holly Bradshaw is capable of challenging the very best, having finished fifth in Rio.

The GB long jump scene is more competitive with four at 6.80m or better. At the triple jump standards, Laura Samuel would need a big PB just to make the London team.

Likely London 2017 team:
HJ: Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Isobel Pooley, Morgan Lake
PV: Holly Bradshaw
LJ: Shara Proctor, Lorraine Ugen, Jazmin Sawyers
TJ: no competitor

LJ prospect: Holly Mills

Women’s throws

The UK women’s throws scene is mixed and the shot is another event where GB standards lag below the world, though Rachel Wallader improved a lot last year.

Jade Lally should be in London but would need to get back to her winter form to make the discus final.

It would be a major shock though if Sophie Hitchon was not in the hammer final and the Olympic bronze medallist will be out to repeat the medal heroics at London.

While Goldie Sayers eventually won an Olympic javelin medal there probably will not be any javelin throwers in London.

Likely London 2017 team:
SP: no competitor
DT: Jade Lally
HT: Sophie Hitchon
JT: no competitor

JT prospect: Emma Hamplett

Women’s combined events and walks

There will be no Ennis-Hill, but Britain still have good medal chances with Johnson-Thompson, especially if she can show improvements in her throws as she enters 2017 with a new coach.

Britain has fared less well in the walks over the years but Bethan Davies looks to be improving enough to at least represent Britain in London.

Likely London 2017 team:
Heptathlon: Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Morgan Lake
20km walk: Bethan Davies

20km walk prospect: Emma Achurch

» For much more detailed analysis, including top three predictions for London 2017 in each event, see the January 12 edition of AW magazine, which is available to buy and read digitally here

» Steve Smythe looks at elite women’s track and field in the UK in the January 12 AW magazine and our state of the nation series continues with:
January 19 magazine: Jess Whittington looks at the international scene. How successful is the Diamond League and what will the IAAF’s reforms under new president Seb Coe mean for the sport?
January 26 magazine: Jason Henderson tackles the topic of young athletes’ initiatives and domestic competition. Does the sport have the best structures in place to develop the champions of tomorrow and is our competition calendar as good as it can be?
February 2 magazine: Euan Crumley reports on the club scene. Is it still the bedrock of British athletics and is the coaching system in the UK as strong as it could be?