Funding delight for 1500m star Laura

Commonwealth Games hero Laura Weightman has been selected for crucial funding – based on her potential to land major medals.

The 23-year-old will be supported by the World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) for 2014–2015, which is funded by the National Lottery through UK Sport.

The 1500m star, from Lesbury, has been selected for Podium aid, which is given to British athletes who have the ability to win a medal at the Olympic Games in Brazil in 2016.

Other big names to receive this top-level support include running legend Mo Farah.

Morpeth Harrier Weightman, who is coached by Steve Cram, described the news as a boost, but did admit that it brings added pressure.

She told the Gazette: “It is hugely important. It is a great support service and it is a big confidence boost.

“There are a big three years ahead, including the Olympics and the World Championships. However, the support does bring added pressure as you are seen as a medal target over the next few years.”

It is not the first time that Weightman has been selected by UKA, the national body for British Athletics, for Olympic Podium funding.

But she is delighted that she has once again made the grade – especially as other big names such as Jo Pavey and Jenny Meadows were snubbed.

Weightman certainly had a summer to remember, winning the British title, as well as Commonwealth silver and European bronze.

She also smashed her personal best time during a season in which she announced herself to the world.

The WCPP is split into two levels; Podium and Podium Potential, which is for athletes developing towards the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

UKA has selected 38 athletes for Olympic Podium funding, including relay, and 26 athletes to Paralympic Podium. Thirty-nine Olympic and 26 Paralympic athletes have been selected onto Podium Potential.

Neil Black, of British Athletics, said: “Our WCPP selections for 2014-15 reflect on the criteria of medal potential at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”