The European Athletics Council has extended a special invitation to British sprinter Richard Kilty to compete in the 60m at next month’s European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow.
The two-time defending champion in the event has not been selected for the host nation’s team although his season’s best time of 6.63 is well inside the championship qualification standard of 6.78.
According to President Svein Arne Hansen, the Council agreed that Kilty’s participation would be in the interest of the championships.
“This situation of a defending champion from the host nation being fit but not making his or her national team is fairly unusual,” said Hansen. “Our invitation is really a special case. It helps the individual athlete, of course, but more importantly it shows that we are ready to react to opportunities that will help our events succeed.”
Noting that champions at the outdoor European Athletics Championships are automatically qualified for the following edition, Hansen said: “We all know that it adds interest for the public when they see that national stars, especially champions, will be competing.”
“I am looking to the future and although there are factors we need to discuss I intend to ask the Council to consider extending the automatic qualification rule to the indoor championships.”
The European Athletics Indoor Championships will take place in Glasgow from 1-3 March.