Learmonth left out of GB team for world event

Berwick's Guy Learmonth was left feeling frustrated this week after being denied the chance to run at the World Indoor Championships this weekend.

Wednesday, 16th March 2016, 10:09 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th March 2016, 10:13 am
Picture by JANE BARLOW 30 July 2014 Scotland's Guy Learmonth in the Men's 800m semi final in the Athletics at Hampden Park on Day 7 of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. © Jane Barlow 2014 {all rights reserved} janebarlowphotography@gmail.com m: 07870 152324

Learmonth, along with fellow Briton Michael Rimmer, had been invited by the International Amateur Athletics Federation to compete in the US event, at Portland in Oregon from today until Sunday.

However, they were ruled out of the championships after they failed to gain selection for the GB side. Both runners had been hoping to contest the 800m race.

Only a win at the indoor British championships by athletes possessing the necessary qualifying standard secured automatic selection for the event, though selectors could use their discretion to choose up to two runners they believed had realistic potential to make the top eight in Portland.

Neither Learmonth, 23, nor Rimmer, 30, achieved the Portland qualifying times of 1:46.50 indoors or 1:44.00 outdoors.

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Rimmer, of Liverpool, was disqualified from the event at the indoor British championships, and Learmonth was placed third in the final, having won the event last year.

However, like fellow British athlete Jazmin Sawyers, the two runners received invitations from the sport’s world governing body to compete.

Stoke-on-Trent-born Sawyers, 21, was accepted, though, but Rimmer and Learmonth were not.

A disappointed Learmonth said: “A big thanks goes to the IAAF for inviting me to the world indoors, but unfortunately I have not been selected for the GB side.”

Learmonth has run an indoor personal best of 1:47.35 for 800m so far this season, while Rimmer has clocked 1:47.67 and has a 1:46.55 best from 2013.

Rimmer said: “Disappointment is a massive understatement. I don’t believe that British Athletics should have the right to decide on my behalf whether I can run or not.

“If the world governing body believes I’m good enough, then that decision should be mine alone.

“Representing your country is the greatest honour for any athlete and the only reason I continue to compete in athletics.”

A British Athletics spokesman said: “The selectors declined the invites on the basis that the athletes had not achieved the relevant qualification standard.”