Waite over as Lennie gets world’s call
Lennie Waite admitted she’d been a nervous wreck, waiting for the phone to ring, before getting the call to confirm she’d been added to the British squad for the world athletics championships in London.
The Paisley-born steeplechaser, 31, was one of five late additions for the hosts’ line-up, including 2015 silver medallist Shara Proctor – in tandem with the long-expected withdrawal of defending long jump champion Greg Rutherford.
Two years ago, Waite was left to vent her frustrations when her appeal against her non-selection for the team for the worlds in Moscow was rejected, even though she had earned the qualifying standard.
But now the Olympian – who secured the 2017 mark in Gothenburg two weeks ago – will start preparing to join what is now a 14-strong contingent of Scots in London.
“There was definitely a bit of relief when I found out,” she said. “I knew that everything should go to plan but I was very nervous. Monday felt a very long day, especially after what happened two years ago. My family has been with me and they were probably more scarred from the experience in 2015 than I am.
“We were all at dinner when I got the call so it was nice to be able to celebrate it with them. My parents were due to fly back to Texas on Friday but they’ve now rebooked everything to stay for another three weeks to come and support me.”
Glasgow 2014 long jump silver medallist Jazmin Sawyers, hurdler Jess Turner and Marc Scott in the 5000m were also added to the British line-up. But while world indoor champion Richard Kilty’s withdrawal from the 4x100 relay due to a broken finger is damaging, it will be the absence of Rutherford which will be most acutely felt.
The 30-year-old has only jumped twice in 2017 and despite extensive treatment to deal with an ongoing ankle problem, the former Olympic champion simply ran out of time to be ready.
“The injuries have taken longer to heal than we hoped, and I have been unable to even jump at all in training, let alone compete,” Rutherford revealed. “I am truly gutted. That stadium is such a special place for me, I am so devastated that I won’t be competing in front of the best fans in the world, in the stadium that changed my life.
“But, I’ll definitely be there to support my British team-mates and soak up what will be an amazing atmosphere, and an amazing championships. My focus will now turn to 2018 and becoming a three-time European champion on the trot, something no long jumper has ever done before.”