OLYMPIC gold medal-winning long jumper Greg Rutherford has hit out at the redesigned British Athletics kit for the Athletics World Championships, to be held in Beijing from August 22.
What’s got him fired up is the absence of the Union flag, the first time the national athletics squad’s vest hasn’t featured the flag since the 1990s.
The British record holder tweeted, calling the design “a terrible choice,” then later added: “This new kit is ridiculous. It isn’t a British kit anymore. It’s promoting British Athletics the company.”
He said he’d spoken to other athletes who were also baffled by the change.
The new kit is the first made as part of British Athletics’ seven-year deal with Nike. However, Rutherford didn’t blame the sports company for the design.
“British Athletics buy from Nike, so they make what they’re asked to make. So I think it’s not their fault at all. I think where the issue arrives is federations not talking to the athletes first.”
British Athletics responded by saying that the Union flag had not disappeared and still featured on the kit’s shorts. Chief Executive Niels de Vos told The Guardian newspaper that the inspiration had come from the Olympics kit, which heavily featured the Team GB logo. “It’s about promoting British Athletics… We discussed it with a number of people and athletes who thought it was a good idea.”
He said that it was hoped that pushing the brand identity of British Athletics would pull the nation behind the team in the same way people became such enthusiastic supporters of Team GB. London will host the Athletics World Championships in 2017.