Kim Ashton: Jersey cyclist withdraws from 2017 Island Games in Gotland

Kim Ashton celebrates at Jersey 2015
Ashton won team and individual golds in the time trial, road race and town criterium at Jersey 2015

Jersey's most successful competitor at the 2015 Island Games will not defend her titles at next summer's event.

Cyclist Kim Ashton, who won six golds in Jersey last summer, has decided not to race in Gotland because of concerns about the team's selection policy.

Officials have chosen the squad but will not name it publicly until the mountain bike line-up is finalised.

"I've made the decision to withdraw because of selection politics," Ashton told BBC Radio Jersey.

"It's sad that I can't defend my titles and try and achieve the same feat twice," she added in a brief statement sent to the BBC.

Ashton was one the home stars of the 2015 Games, winning individual and team gold in all three of the events she entered; the time trial,road race and town centre criterium.

"The Jersey Cycling Association has yet to select part of the team," said the association's president Peter Hubert.

"I would also chair the appeals panel, were there to be any, and therefore it would be inappropriate [for me] to make any public comment as it could compromise that role."

Kim Ashton (centre)
Ashton (centre) was Jersey's top gold medal winner on home soil at the 2015 Games

Ashton's withdrawal is the latest indication that Team Jersey will have a very different feel to it for Gotland 2017, with a number of high-profile absentees likely.

Tennis player Scott Clayton has already said he is 'unlikely' to compete as he focuses on qualifying for Wimbledon, while international archer Lucy O'Sullivan has raised concerns over costs and her schedule.

As host island Jersey had the biggest squad at last summer's Island Games, but sent a much smaller team to Bermuda in 2013 due to the cost of the event.

The 2019 games will be held in Gibraltar after Menorca pulled out of hosting the event, leading to a number of sports being dropped due to a lack of facilities, although cycling and volleyball won a reprieve.