Athletics: Post-Olympic cash cuts pose new funding blow for sprint ace Nelson
SPRINTER Ashleigh Nelson believes she is unlikely to start receiving Team GB funding again, despite being crowned UK 100m champion.
The 21-year-old, from Birches Head, lost her support from UK Athletics in October after a 2011 season spent struggling with a misdiagnosed hamstring injury.
Her move to private medical support helped finally fix the problem, and she proved her return to fitness by storming to victory at last month's Olympic trials in Birmingham.
She did not have enough in her tank to secure the "A" standard time which would have seen her qualify for the London 2012 Games, which start on Friday.
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But the photography student at Middlesex University has done enough to prove she can mix it with the very best in the country, and plans to take on the world next year.
Her dramatic return to form, however, does not necessarily mean she will immediately regain access to funding controlled by the sport's governing body.
Nelson said: "Funding will be scaled back after the Olympics and only the very few podium level athletes will still get money next season.
"That probably rules me out, so I am looking for sponsorship so I can prepare well enough to get to the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 and beat the best in the world.
"I am looking forward to training over the winter and coming out next season looking for personal best times. For starters, I want to defend my UK title."
Nelson is still frustrated she will not be at the Olympics to at least take part in the 4x100m.
The women's sprint relay team failed to qualify for a place in London after their disqualification at the European Championships last month.
The performance led to a public rebuke from UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee, below, who said the squad was "an accident waiting to happen".
Nelson said: "On the one hand it was really upsetting, but on the other it was not a surprise. Charles doesn't care about events where you're not going to challenge for a medal.
"What is annoying is that he can say to us one thing, then turn around and say something completely different to the media.
"If he had been expecting us to fail, why did he not do something about it?
"You can see from his point of view that he's running a business and if you're not guaranteed to be successful why should he invest in you.
"It's a catch 22 situation where the teams and individuals who need the most support don't get any, but there's no point moping about it. I've just got to focus on being even quicker next season."
Nelson will still have a strong interest in the Games as her training partner Adam Gemili is the surprise package of the men's 100m.
"He is such a brilliant talent," she said.
"He used to play football (for Dagenham and Redbridge) and was only doing little bits of sprinting here and there.
"Now he is lining up against athletes he's only ever seen on television like Dwain Chambers and Usain Bolt, so perhaps we shouldn't expect too much too soon.
"I don't think he can quite believe the situation he's found himself in, but he's got us all around him and we'll give him all the support we can."