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Super eight off to Rio

Double European 400m champion Martyn Rooney is one of the stars named in the Team GB athletics team heading for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, which get underway in just 23 days’ time.

Unveiled at the Paula Radcliffe Stadium at Loughborough University, the team boasts 17 Loughborough linked athletes, some making their Olympic debuts, whilst others will be aiming from medals.

Former Loughborough student Rooney, who will run the 400m and 4x400m relay, will be joined by ex-Loughborough students Emily Diamond, Laura Whittle, Sonia Samuels, Robbie Grabarz, Chris Baker and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey.

Like Rooney, 2013 graduate Emily Diamond will run in both the 400m and the 4x400m relay, whilst Sonia Samuels will run in the women’s marathon. Alumna turned Loughborough University employee Laura Whittle has been picked as part of a trio of athletes in the women’s 5,000m, whilst London 2012 bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz and last week’s European bronze medallist Chris Baker will compete in the men’s high jump. Harry Aikines-Aryeetey rounds out the super eight as part of the men’s sprint relay squad.

Of selection for his third Olympic Games, Rooney said:

“I’m really excited – I found out yesterday so I was at peak excitement then! Defending my European title last week was huge and I beat some fantastic athletes, which has given me the confidence to go and race against the best in the world and believe I can actually beat them.

“Loughborough’s been incredible; without the support of Loughborough University and British Athletics being based here my life would have been very different. I’m very lucky to be here with such great facilities – it’s just fantastic.”

Thanks to Loughborough University’s world class sporting offer, nine further athletes who choose to use the campus as their training base have also been included in a squad of 80 athletes. Leading the way is Adam Gemili, who alongside Danny Talbot will contest the 200m and 4x100m relay. Joining them in the relay is James Dasaolu, who will also run the 100m, with Asha Philip doing the same on the women’s side.

Lynsey Sharp will run in the 800m as she did in 2012, whilst Anyika Onoura has been picked as part of an outstanding women’s 4x400m relay team. In the field, Sophie Hitchon and Mark Dry will contest the hammer, with Hitchon looking to go one better than fourth at last summer’s World Championships.

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