By James Crook

Jessica Ennis throwing javelin London 2012January 23 - UK Athletics have decided not to send a team to the World University Games in Kazan this July, the event which helped launch the career of Jessica Ennis, prompting protests from student athletes in the country.

UK Athletics have decided that sending a team to these events are not in their best interests as they concentrate on the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Youth Championships and the European Under-23 and Junior Championships, which clash with the Universiade and the European Youth Olympics in Utrecht, which will also be devoid of British athletes.

The decision has led to protests from student athletes who have created a petition online, which currently has 386 signatures, urging UK Athletics to reconsider their decision not to send British athletes to the events.

The petition states: "I strongly urge UK Athletics to reconsider their decision to not support a team to attend the World University Games.

"The World University Games will provide an opportunity for athletes to represent Great Britain in a large international competition if they are not eligible to compete in the U20 or U23 team.

"BUCS (British Universities and College Sport) will have an HQ team at the Games as other sports will be present and I feel UKA should not prevent an Athletics team being sent to represent the country."

The news has also prompted negative responses on Twitter, with Athens 2004 heptathlon bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton "tweeting": "It's so short sighted by UKA. Probably as they've no staff to send with a team!"

kellysothertonAthens 2004 heptathlon bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton has criticised UK Athletics' decision not to send British athletes to the 2013 Universiade

"[World Championship qualifiers] are getting tougher so [the Universiade is] a great stepping stone.

"UKA should send a small team who may miss out on World Champs especially field events. (sic)"

Successful British athletes, such as London 2012 heptathlon gold medallist Ennis, have competed in the Universiade before going on to Olympic glory.

The former University of Sheffield student took part in the 2005 Universiade in Izmir, Turkey, winning a bronze medal. 

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