UK Athletics (UKA) and The British Olympic Association (BOA) today announced the first six members of the athletics squad that will represent Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The athletes will compete for Team GB in the marathon and 50km men’s race walk events at Rio 2016 – with the rest of the athletics team to be announced in the coming months.
In the men’s marathon, Derek Hawkins is selected in the third spot alongside younger brother Callum and Tsegai Tewelde, who both qualified automatically as the first two Britons across the line in this year’s London Marathon; with all three running under the qualifying time.
Alyson Dixon sealed her spot in Rio as the first Brit home and a 13th place finish in London, with Sonia Samuels finishing one position behind and also booking a ticket to Brazil – with both having already run the qualifying time in Berlin last September.
Along with the marathon runners, 50km race walker Dominic King has also been selected to represent Team GB with Rio set to be his second Olympic Games after competing in the same event four years ago at London 2012.
Team GB have won five marathon medals in their Olympic Games history with the last coming when Charlie Spedding won bronze at Los Angeles 1984.
Briton Tommy Green won the first-ever 50km race walk Olympic gold medal at Los Angeles 1932 and Team GB top the medal table in the event with three golds, one silver and one bronze
The selection of these six athletes takes Team GB’s total for Rio 2016 to 53 from five sports having previously selected 11 sailors, four slalom canoeists, six shooters and 26 swimmers.
The selected athletes are:
Callum Hawkins, 23, Kilbarchan Athletics Club
Derek Hawkins, 26, Leeds City/Kilbarchan Athletics Club
Tsegai Tewelde, 26, Shettleston Harriers
Alyson Dixon, 37, Sunderland Strollers
Sonia Samuels 36, Sale Harriers
Dominic King (50km Race Walk), 32, Colchester Harriers
Mark England, Team GB’s Chef de Mission for Rio 2016, said:
“I’m delighted to be able to welcome the first group of the athletics squad for Rio 2016 into Team GB.
“The marathon runners selected all showed an incredible spirit at this year’s London Marathon and thoroughly deserve their chance to race in Rio de Janeiro.
“The marathon is a spectacular event at any Olympic Games and last weekend’s race in London shows what an inspiration it can be as well.
“It’s great to also welcome Dominic back to Team GB and I wish all the athletes the best in their preparation between now and the start of the Games this summer.”
British Athletics Performance Director and Team GB athletics team leader Neil Black said:
“I congratulate the six athletes, and their coaches, on being selected to represent Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games this summer. The positive performances in London this weekend, and over the entire selection period, allowed us to select a strong endurance team for Rio and we are confident these athletes will represent the nation to the best of their abilities.”
Speaking directly after the London Marathon, Alyson Dixon said:
“It feels like a dream come true and hasn’t really sunk in. Going to the Olympics is something I have dreamed of for 20 years. I’ve dreamt of Rio but today was the focus and I wanted to make sure I nailed selection and got myself on the plane.”
Callum Hawkins said:
“The aim was to finish top two in the London Marathon so I am really happy. My brother (Derek Hawkins) and my dad, who is my coach, have experience of running marathons so have helped me. Rio was my main goal in this race and I didn’t care about the time so I’m delighted with my position and securing selection.”