Rio 2016: Alison Leonard criticises UK Athletics selection policy

Alison Leonard
Alison Leonard was third in the semi-final of the European Athletics Championships at the start of July

Alison Leonard has criticised UK Athletics after she was not selected to compete in the 800m at the Olympic Games in Rio.

The decision was taken despite the 26-year-old running the Olympic qualifying time on six occasions and coming third in the trials.

"I accept I will never win an Olympic medal," she wrote on eightlane.org.

UK Athletics said they do not respond to individual selection policy when asked for a response.

Shelayna Oskan-Clarke and Lynsey Sharp were the only 800m runners named in the Team GB squad for Rio, with a third place left unfilled.

"To leave a space empty on an Olympic team when several athletes have the qualifying standard is an insult to the effort that athletes put in to the sport," said Leonard.

"It tells us that the early mornings, icy runs, hill reps, missed parties and every other thing we do, are not worth anything if you're not going to make the Olympic final.

"For me to be told that the space will be left empty despite being third in the trial... makes me feel I am mediocre."

The Chorley athlete clocked 2 mins 2.45 secs behind Oskan-Clarke and Sharp at the British Championships last month, but said the selection decision had left her feeling like an "also-ran".

She added: "I am an extra on the stage of athletics and no one cares that I practised my lines over and over - I am not needed and my part has been cut."

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