Alistair Brownlee undecided over Commonwealth Games marathon

Double Olympic triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee says he has not ruled out stepping up to run the marathon at next year's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Leeds's Alistair Brownlee.

Brownlee signalled his intention to pursue longer distance events - culminating in the World Ironman Championships - after retaining his Olympic crown in Rio last year.

And with one year to go to the opening ceremony in Australia, the 28-year-old is still considering whether to target the marathon at the Games as part of his endurance build-up.

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Brownlee said: “I could look to running (the marathon). I definitely want to run a marathon at some point - not definitely at Gold Coast, but possibly.

“I haven’t decided about the Commonwealth Games. Obviously it’s a big thing in triathlon but I’ve been fortunate to win that before and I’m not sure yet whether I’m going to be there in Gold Coast or not.”

Brownlee considered running the 10,000m at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow before being forced to shelve the plan due to injury.

In 2015 he told the Guardian he believed he could run “somewhere in the 2:10 to 2:15 range” in the marathon - which would be enough to see him hit the England Athletics qualification standard.

If Brownlee decides to step up his plan to run the marathon in Gold Coast, he will need to achieve that target before the governing body meet to finalise their team in October.

Meanwhile, table tennis players Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford have become the first athletes to qualify to represent England at the 2018 Games.

The 27-year-old Drinkhall will be competing at his fourth Games having first represented England in 2006 in Melbourne, and will be looking to defend the mixed doubles gold he won in Glasgow.

Drinkhall said: “I am delighted to qualify to represent Team England at Gold Coast 2018. The Commonwealth Games is one of the world’s best sporting events and Team England is the country’s most successful team.”