Elliot Giles, Andrew Pozzi, Keely Hodgkinson and Holly Bradshaw are on the squad of 41 named for the event in Toruń
When Christian Malcolm won European indoor gold in Belgium 21 years ago, it set him up well for the Olympics a few months later, as he finished fifth in the 200m in Sydney. Now, as head coach of the British team, he hopes the athletes he has selected for next month’s European Indoor Championships can go on to enjoy similar or greater success at the Tokyo Games.
“It’s been a very challenging time for athletes to prepare and train but I think we have a very exciting team,” he said on Tuesday, shortly after the squad for the event in Toruń, Poland, on March 4-7 was announced.
“It’s an opportunity for these athletes to step up to another level,” he said. But he added: “The endgame for everyone is the Olympic Games and that’s where we want to see everyone perform.”
Contenders for the podium in Poland include former European indoor pole vault champion Holly Bradshaw, reigning world indoor 60m hurdles champion Andy Pozzi and US-based sprint hurdles sisters Tiffany Porter and Cindy Sember.
The squad is also bolstered by some of the endurance runners who have shone in recent weeks on the international circuit. They include Marc Scott, who is travelling over from his base in Oregon to compete in the 3000m in Poland fresh from his stunning 27:10.41 for 10,000m and 7:36.08 for 3000m outdoors in recent days.
Elliot Giles and Jamie Webb, the 800m duo (pictured above) who smashed Seb Coe’s 38-year-old UK indoor record this month, are set to race despite missing last weekend’s trials.
Another 800m sensation, Keely Hodgkinson, is in the team too following her world under-20 indoor record this season, although fellow 800m runner Jemma Reekie is one of a handful of notable absentees from the team.
The biggest name not in the team, of course, is Dina Asher-Smith, who has called time on her indoor season due to a minor injury, whereas Laura Muir has also chosen not to defend her titles.
Traditionally the European Indoor Championships is a good event to give up-and-coming athletes experience and Holly Mills has been rewarded for her fine pentathlon performance at the trials by being invited to compete in the combined events.
Long jumper Jacob Fincham-Dukes has also been rewarded for his fine form in the trials, whereas Sophie McKinna will hope to make further improvements on her great recent form.
There are also good relay squads and the 41-strong team could ultimately be bigger as well if British Athletics’ request for additional field eventers, such as long jumper Jazmin Sawyers, is accepted.
Who has excited Malcolm lately? The head coach points to Giles and Webb. “It’s going to be interesting to see how that goes down when they’re both fresh,” he says.
“Tiffany Porter looks to be back to her best. And Holly Bradshaw’s done her highest jump for about nine years which will be a great confidence booster to help her get on the podium at the Olympic Games.”
The team will do well to match its tally of four golds and 12 medals at the last championships, which was held on home soil in Glasgow in 2019, but Malcolm says he has not set a medal target and they will certainly travel to Poland with healthy hopes and half an eye on the bigger prizes in the summer.
60m: Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Oliver Bromby, Andrew Robertson. 400m: Joe Brier, Lee Thompson, James Williams. 800m: Elliot Giles, Guy Learmonth, Jamie Webb. 1500m: Piers Copeland, Archie Davis, Neil Gourley. 3000m: Andrew Butchart, Jack Rowe, Marc Scott. 4x400m: Brier, Efe Okoro, Tom Somers, Owen Smith, Thompson, Williams. 60m hurdles: Andrew Pozzi. Long jump: Jacob Fincham-Dukes
400m: Jessie Knight, Ama Pipi, Jodie Williams. 800m: Ellie Baker, Isabelle Boffey, Keely Hodgkinson. 1500m: Holly Archer, Katie Snowden. 3000m: Amy-Eloise Markovc, Verity Ockenden, Amelia Quirk. 4x400m: Zoey Clark, Beth Dobbin, Yasmin Liverpool, Knight, Pipi, Williams. 60m hurdles: Emma Nwofor, Tiffany Porter, Cindy Sember. Pole vault: Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson; Blackburn). Long jump: Abigail Irozuru. Shot put: Sophie McKinna. Pentathlon: Holly Mills