A number of Merseyside athletes including World champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson have been offered
places on the 2020/2021 Olympic and Paralympic World Class Programme.

British Athletics has retained all athletes from the 2019/2020 World Class Programme for the year ahead.

As well as Johnson-Thompson, fellow Liverpool Harriers stars classed as Olympic Podium Potential include Tim Duckwork and Jamie Webb.

Local Paralympic athletes to be retained on the WCP include David Devine (Liverpool Harriers) as Olympic Podium, and Nathan Maguire and Isaac Towers (Kirkby) as Olympic Potential.

A spokesperson said: “We are fully committed to continuing their support as they target the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2021.”

Only two additional Paralympic athletes have been added to the 2020/2021 WCP.

“We will however be exploring options to put in place a Tokyo Support Package for those athletes who have demonstrated potential to make a final or increase the British team’s medal chances at next year’s Games,” said British Athletics.

Membership on the WCP for 2020-21 is based on an athlete’s realistic potential to win a medal at Tokyo 2020 or Paris 2024.

There are three levels of membership at Olympic level: Olympic Podium (16), Olympic Podium Potential (30), and Olympic Relays (23).

There are two levels of membership of the WCP at Paralympic level: Paralympic Podium (28) and Paralympic Podium Potential (18) (Guide Runners (2) are listed separately).

World Class Programme Director, Steve Paulding, said: “The last few months have provided many challenges for everyone, so we are pleased to be able to retain all the athletes who were on the World Class Programme last year, for 2021.

“Additionally, we are delighted to be looking at creating alternative ways to support several athletes via a Tokyo Support Package.

“These discussions are taking place following a year in sport which has been like no other we have experienced.

“We want to engage and support as many athletes as possible who have shown real potential for Tokyo during the disrupted season, but we have not been able to add to the Olympic WCP.

“So, we will aim to support a limited number of athletes in accessing the support which will help them achieve this.

“I’d like to thank the National Lottery and UK Sport for their continued investment in the World Class Programme. The support enables our athletes to be the best prepared in their quest for success at the world’s most significant sporting events.”