By Owen Morgan
Jenny Nesbitt and Kris Jones have been rewarded for their excellent early season form with places on the Great Britain team for next month’s European 10,000m Cup.
The Welsh internationals will be joined on the 12-strong team by Cardiff-based Jake Smith, Swansea Harrier Verity Ockenden and double Olympic Champion Sir Mo Farah.
The European Cup, which will attract teams from across the continent, will be held in conjunction with the Muller British Athletics 10,000m Championship and Olympic Trial at the University of Birmingham on June 5.
There will be individual and team medals up for grabs in the European 10,000m Cup.
The first two British athletes home in the men’s and women’s races, who hold an Olympic qualifying standard, will automatically quality for the Tokyo Olympics.
Cardiff athlete Nesbitt is the third fastest British woman over 10,000m this year following her 32:44.26 at the Welsh Elite 10,000m event in Newport in March.
An experienced GB athlete, the 26-year-old is no stranger to the European Cup having won an bronze medal in Turkey back in 2016 and a team gold at Highgate in 2018 .
Earlier this month, the Cardiff Metropolitan University student won the Speedway 10K in Chepstow, followed a week later by a runaway victory over 5,000m at BMC Grand Prix in Manchester.
On the same night, Swansea Harrier Jones finished third in the men’s 5,000m A race. This after winning over 5,000m at the Welsh Athletics Elite Endurance Series in Cardiff last month and finishing second at the Welsh Elite 10,000m event.
The hugely versatile Jones has represented GB at orienteering and cross country as well as on the road and the track.
Fellow Swansea Harrier Ockenden also makes the team alongside Cardiff Metropolitan University student Smith, who has been consistently hitting the headlines of late, most recently after running 2:11.00 on his marathon debut – a race he started as pacemaker.
Four-time Olympian Farah will be seeking a berth at his fourth Games as well as hunting for European Cup glory. His last 10,000m race on the track was at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London where he secured his sixth world title.
Sam Atkin, of Lincoln Wellington, and Marc Scott, of Richmond and Zetland, are currently the only two British male team members that hold the Olympic Games qualifying standard.
Of the women’s team only Eilish McColgan of, Dundee Hawkhill, holds the Tokyo qualifying standard. She also currently holds Olympic standards over the 1500m and 5000m.
With six women and six men selected, Great Britain and Northern Ireland will hope to contest for team medals in both events at the European 10,000m Cup.
Team Leader, Rob Denmark, said: “We are pleased that we have been able to select a strong line-up for the European 10,000m Cup.
“We will be looking to achieve the highest possible placing in both the men’s and women’s team standings and we are confident that the athletes selected can deliver successful results on home soil.
“Significantly though, with places up for grabs for the Olympic Games as part of the Müller British Athletics 10,000m Championships, every athlete will be looking to deliver their best on the day, so I look forward to seeing how the athletes perform.”
Entries for the Müller British Athletics 10,000m Championships are via invite only. The full fields have yet to be announced.
The full British team for the European Athletics 10,000m Cup:
Women:Jessica Judd (Mick Judd, Blackburn)
Amy-Eloise Markovc (Chris Fox, Wakefield)
Eilish McColgan (Liz Nuttall, Dundee Hawkhill)
Jenny Nesbitt (Chris Jones, Cardiff)
Verity Ockenden (Tony Houchin, Swansea)
Lily Partridge (Alan Storey, Birchfield)
Sam Atkin (Mike Collins, Lincoln Wellington)
Emile Cairess (Alan Storey, Leeds City)
Mo Farah (Gary Lough, Newham & Essex Beagles)
Kris Jones (Chris Jones, Swansea)
Marc Scott (Jerry Schumacher, Richmond and Zetland)
Jake Smith (James Thie, Cardiff)