British Indoor Championships to go ahead next year following financial boost

The British Indoor Championships will go ahead next year despite the on-going coronavirus crisis after UKA landed a £394,000 boost.

Chief executive Joanna Coates confirmed the UK Sport Business Continuity Fund had granted extra financial support.

The British Indoor Grand Prix – held this year in Glasgow – is yet to be pencilled in but the British Championships, which would serve as trials for the European Indoors in Poland next March, has got the green light.

The British Indoor Grand Prix was held in Glasgow this year
The British Indoor Grand Prix was held in Glasgow this year

Athletics’ schedule was decimated by the pandemic with two Diamond League events cancelled, July’s lucrative Anniversary Games and the British Grand Prix, along with the British Championships.

Coates said: “We bid into the UK Sport Business Continuity Fund and we were successful in that so our indoors – we don’t know about the Grand Prix yet – but certainly our indoors will take place.

“Our trials will definitely take place. Huge thanks to UK Sport. Even if we don’t sell a ticket we can still put that event on, which is fantastic news for the sport.

“Athletes are desperate for that and because we know it’s not going to place any financial burden on the organisation and UK Sport have backed us, we’ll definitely have an indoor trials.

“I honestly think if an arena opens and people can go and watch live athletics, that would sell out within minutes, I would imagine.

“We have budgeted everything – because of our funding from UK Sport – on no fans. We are in a very lucky position that they backed us to put that event on.

“To not have that would have been a disaster for the athletes. If it’s not on TV and we can’t sell a ticket, that’s disappointing. But it means the athletes get some competition.

“I imagine we would try and find a way of streaming it anyway. We absolutely wanted that indoor competition to take place.”

Meanwhile, Coates believes four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah will have carefully considered his training after he was tipped to go on I’m A Celebrity when it airs next month.

The series is being held at Gwrych Castle in Wales after coronavirus stopped filming in Australia as usual.

Sir Mo Farah
Sir Mo Farah

“It’s that knife-edge decision. For me as a marketer, to have athletes in mainstream TV shows is just perfection,” said Coates.

“However – and a big however – you would never want to do that to the detriment of performance. I would imagine there have been lengthy conversations.

“If he is there, there will have been lengthy conversations about whether this would affect performance.

“The fact that it’s in Wales and not as long a time is very different from many weeks in Australia.”