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Event is not going to run

4 May 2006

Great Britain's 200 metres male sprinters will be out of pocket next month after their event was dropped from the Norwich Union British Grand Prix at Gateshead.

The news comes after three years of underachievement by the athletes at major championships, with organisers Fast Track preferring instead to stage a 110m hurdles race at the June 11 event.

"We have a duty to showcase the very best British talent that we can in these events," said FT managing director Jon Ridgeon.

"Unfortunately we do not have the time to schedule every distance in every one of our Grand Prix events."

"The flip-side to this of course is that those events where we have posted success, will be rewarded in turn. For example it is only proper that our Commonwealth medal winning high hurdlers should have that success recognised with the chance to compete in the big events on home soil."

Darren Campbell, the 2000 Olympic silver medallist, was the last 200m runner to reach a major final when finishing fourth at the 2003 World Championships.

No-one has made the cut in the last two summer seasons, with Britons conspicuous by their absence in the 2004 Olympic final, 2005 World Championship final and this year's Commonwealth Games final.

The 110m hurdles at Gateshead will feature Commonwealth champion Maurice Wignall against Chris Baillie and Andy Turner.

The Scot and Englishman, who won silver and bronze medals behind the Jamaican in Melbourne, now have an opportunity to chase a winner's purse of 7,000 US dollars (£3,808).

Ridgeon's announcement is the strongest suggestion yet made by his company that British 200m runners no longer hold world-class status. However, Ridgeon - himself the 1987 World Championships 110m hurdles silver medallist - admitted Gateshead is a one-off decision.

He said: "Our 200m boys will have the chance to show what they can do at the Norwich Union London Grand Prix and the Norwich Union International in Birmingham later in the summer."

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