Funding cut for Radcliffe

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Athletics: Bedford & County AC star Paula Radcliffe has lost her National Lottery support as she is not seen as a “genuine medal contender” for Rio 2016, says UK Athletics.

The governing body has narrowed the focus for a place on their World Class Performance Programme from athletes with top-eight potential to those who are top-three contenders.

Radcliffe, 38, missed the London Games through injury and didn’t compete at the World Championships in Daegu in 2011 either, meaning she missed her targets.

UKA chief Neil Black said: “I talked with Paula over the weekend and she understood it.

“It is about medals for the future. It was what she expected. She dealt with it really well.

“She will carry on training and competing and I don’t think too many things will change.

“The focus is the future. We have the World Championships in Moscow next year, then we look to 2016 and then to 2020. It is about medals for the future.”

But Radcliffe has ruled out any talke of returement, tweeting: “Retirement is definitely not in any plans.

“I’m not doing all this cross training and getting this foot healthy and strong for nothing.

“Just to clarify I am very grateful for the support lottery funding gives us athletes and I fully expected to see it withdrawn.”