Rooney gets the call

Rooney gets the call
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Great Britain's Martyn Rooney won his first major outdoor 400m title at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich last year. 

When the initial Great Britain team for the IAAF World Championships was announced, Martyn Rooney was selected only for the 4x400m relay.

But from that disappointment, comes a rollercoaster ride for the European 400m champion who will now go to Beijing not only running in the individual event but as the team’s captain.

At the start of the month Rooney won an appeal about the individual event after running a season’s best of 45.41 which put him 12th on the European Athletics rankings.

And he could not be happier.

"It has always been an honour to represent my country and something I've been lucky enough to do for the last 10 years," said Rooney, 28.

"In many ways everything really started to kick off for me in Beijing at the World Juniors in 2006 when I won bronze, so to now to have the privilege of returning to China and captaining the team is a job and a responsibility that fills me with great pride. The up and coming talent within the squad pushes me to be a better athlete and hopefully I can provide the right example to them."

Britain has a team of 63 in China and performance director Neil Black said: "There are some experienced athletes in our squad, which includes three current Olympic champions, as well as those just embarking on their international careers, so I was looking for someone who can help bridge the generations and unite the individual athletes as a team. 

"Martyn is the perfect person for this role as he commands the respect of all his teammates and has the invaluable experience of competing in Beijing previously."

Rooney led a British one-two at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich last summer to win gold in 44.71 from Matthew Hudson-Smith (44.75) and Israel's Donald Sanford (45.27).

His victory came in the fastest time by a European in 2014 and his glory did not end there as Rooney then anchored the British team to gold in the final event, the 4x400m relay.

The three Olympic champions Black talks about are Mo Farah, who will be defending his 5000m and 10,000m titles, Greg Rutherford, who will be looking to complete the set of major medals in the long jump, and Jessica Ennis-Hill, who faces a fascinating heptathlon duel with teammate Katarina Johnson-Thompson, the European Indoor pentathlon champion.