Express & Star

Wolverhampton's Matthew Hudson-Smith lands wildcard Team GB pick

Great Britain sprint ace Matthew Hudson-Smith will defend his European Championship title in Rome next month.


The 29-year-old 400m star received a wildcard place in GB’s 70-strong squad for the showpiece competition in Italy between June 7 and 12.

Wolverhampton speedster Hudson-Smith is a senior and key member of Team GB’s track and field squad and claimed two golds in Munich two years ago, both individually and as a team in the 4x400m relay.

Hudson-Smith was also 400m winner in 2018 and relay champion in 2014. He smashed a 36-year European individual record time on the way to a silver at last year’s World Championship in Hungary.

Earlier this month he helped Team GB’s 4x400m squad qualify for this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris, which begins a little over two months later.

Reigning world heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Olympic 800m silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson have also been named in the squad.

The group travelling to Italy for the meet also includes 2023 world 100m bronze medallist Zharnel Hughes.

Hughes, who last year smashed a pair of British records in the 100m and 200m which had stood for 30 years, is eligible for a 200m wildcard but has elected to focus on the shorter distance in Italy.

Jade O’Dowda will also join Johnson-Thompson in the heptathlon, subject to ranking confirmation.

The team includes a full women’s half-marathon squad, with the event incorporating both an individual and team competitions.

There was no official selection event for the European Championships, for which athletes were instead required to submit expressions of interest, or confirm with their event point of contact for consideration.

The European Athletics Championships take place from June 7-12, just over two months before the Olympics begins in Paris.

UK Athletics head coach Paula Dunn said: “For some athletes, winning a medal in Rome will be the perfect preparation for the Olympics, for others competing here will provide a benchmark as to where they are, knowing that their peak performance needs to come at the start of August.”