British 400m hurdles champion Seb Rodger has hit out at Britain’s athletics organisation after he was left out of Great Britain’s squad for the European Athletics Championships in July.
The 98-strong team was announced on Monday, with Rodger looking highly likely to be among them after winning the 400m hurdles final at the British Championships on Sunday.
Instead, the British Athletics chiefs selected the three athletes that finished behind him on Sunday; a decision Rodger described as “unbelievable”.
“I’m very, very disappointed.” said the 24-year-old when speaking to The Argus, “I was on such a high after winning on Sunday and then to find out that British Athletics had moved the goalposts and done this to me yesterday was just unbelievable.”
British Athletics had selected Jack Green and Rhys Williams for the championships on the basis that they are the top 2 in the UK this year in terms of overall times.
However, Rodgers’ time of 49.45 seconds on Sunday saw him dip under the European qualifying time and moved him up to third in the UK rankings, which has led him to accuse British Athletics of refusing to reconsider their selections.
“It just sums up British Athletics really.” he said “When I asked them why I wasn’t picked the answer was pretty much that they had decided on the team last Tuesday and couldn’t be bothered to change it.
“That is unacceptable when they are playing with people’s lives. I’ve had a tough time over the last couple of years but felt things were just starting to go my way by winning the national title and then they have stuck two fingers up at me.”
The new British champion is still determined to make Great Britain’s Olympic team for Rio, needing to run the qualifying time of 49.40 seconds by July 11th to have any chance of qualifying.
“I’m going to Finland on tomorrow (29th June),” he said, “so hopefully I can run the qualifying time there and prove my point to the selectors. I’m seething at the moment but what has happened has given me extra motivation to show they are wrong.”
The European Athletics Championships will take place in Amsterdam on 6th-10th July, with 6 British athletes looking to defend their titles from 2014.
For the full interview with Seb Rodger, please read Steve Hollis’ piece for The Argus here.