‘I am shocked, frustrated and a little bit annoyed’ - Laura Weightman determined to prove British Athletics wrong for funding cut

Laura Weightman competing in the Women's 1500m Final at the Olympic Stadium (Photo: PA)
Laura Weightman competing in the Women's 1500m Final at the Olympic Stadium (Photo: PA)
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Olympic finalist Laura Weightman has revealed her shock at losing National Lottery funding ahead of the 2017 World Championships in London.

The Leeds-based athlete finished 11th in the 1,500m final at Rio 2016, four years on from hunting down a ninth-placed finish at the London Olympics.

But in cutting the number of athletes on top level podium finding from 21 to 15, British Athletics have stripped Weightman of financial support alongside James Dasaolu, the second fastest Briton in history, and former 400m hurdle world champion Dai Greene.

Weightman, who won bronze at the 2014 European Championships, said: “I am shocked, frustrated and a little bit annoyed. I didn’t expect it.

“I worked so hard to make that final in Rio. I was disappointed to finish 11th but the event was so strong.

“Eleventh was actually a very good result.

Weightman finished 11th in the Olympic final in Rio (Photo PA)

Weightman finished 11th in the Olympic final in Rio (Photo PA)

“For me to be removed from funding and no longer be deemed as an athlete that can go and get world and Olympic medals is obviously disappointing. Who knows what is going to happen. It’s difficult for somebody to say ‘yes and no’ to things you can do but it doesn’t affect what I believe I can do.

“I am still aiming for Tokyo and can achieve a lot more in my career.”

Weightman set her quickest time of 2016 at the Diamond League meeting at the London Olympic Park in July but the mark was more than two seconds slower than her personal best from 2014.

She has finished as Britain’s second fastest female 1,500m runner for the last three years.

“I am still aiming for Tokyo and can achieve a lot more in my career”

Laura Weightman

Scotland’s Laura Muir, who finished four places in front of Weightman in Rio remains on the podium funding having broken Kelly Holmes’ British record in Paris at the end of August.

Weightman, who is coached by Steve Cram, will continue to receive financial support from an endurance fund set up by the London Marathon.

“It’s going to be a transition period but I want to prove people wrong,” the 25-year-old added.

“I am in a very lucky position that the London Marathon supports the wider endurance programme and very lucky with my set up in Leeds that everything is centred around me.

Scott Lincoln has dominated the British shot put scene in 2016

Scott Lincoln has dominated the British shot put scene in 2016

“I don’t rely on a system, and that is something Steve (Cram) has always told me to do.”

British Athletics also revealed 29 promising athletes earmarked as potential Olympians for the Tokyo Games in four years time.

Yorkshire athletes Scott Lincoln and Alexandra Bell have been placed on the second tier funding and join Sheffield pole-vaulter Adam Hague and race walker Tom Bosworth on the podium level of funding.

Middlesbrough 400m runner Rabah Yousif kept his place on the 4x400m relay funding.

Lincoln, from Northallerton, dominated the British shot-put scene last season, winning the indoor and outdoor national titles.

Pudsey runner Bell, who turns 24 tomorrow, lowered her 800m personal best by more than a second over the summer to rank fifth nationally.

Bosworth was an unsung hero of the British team in Rio as he came sixth in the 20km race walk despite going into the race as one of the lower ranked athletes.

In addition, 23 athletes have been named on the Paralympic podium funding, with 24 earmarked as potential medallists.

Rio 2016 gold medallists Hannah Cockroft and Kadeena Cox remain on the full podium funding.