American sprint legend Michael Johnson reveals how track athletes end up loathing the sport

Michael Johnson has opined why athletes end up loathing the sport after Guy Learmonth (circled) revealed he "hates" it

ATHLETICS American sprint legend Michael Johnson reveals how track athletes end up loathing the sport

Mark Kinyanjui 22:49 - 26.02.2024

Johnson revealed the reason many track and field athletes end up loathing the sport after Great Britain's Guy Learmonth revealed he "hated" the sport for being left out of their team for the upcoming World Indoor Championships in Glasgow.

American sprint legend Michael Johnson has revealed why track and field athletes end up “hating” the sport after Great Britain’s Guy Learmonth was left out of their team for the upcoming World Indoor Athletics Championships set to take place in Glasgow in March.

The middle-distance man from the Borders was informed by British Athletics that, despite being eligible for next week’s World Indoor Championships, which begin in Glasgow on Friday, the national governing body would not be including him in GB’s team.

“My initial reaction when I heard British Athletics’ decision was a mixture of anger, devastation, heart-break but also, I wasn’t surprised because I know how they operate,” the 31-year-old told The Herald.

“Athletics has been such a huge part of my life – it was my absolute love and passion and it’s enabled me to buy a house, nice cars, travel the globe and make friends all over the world so on that front, it’s been amazing.

“But now, with how I’ve been treated, I feel like I hate it and I can’t wait to be done.”

Johnson was quick to react to the situation, claiming that the sport itself tries to be both professional and amaetur, which leaves the end result disastrous in terms of how the athletes really feel.

“Athletics tries to be both an Olympic/amateur sport (inclusive) and a professional sport (exclusive) at the elite level,” Johnsone wrote on X.

 “The result is many athletes coming to hate the sport.”

After achieving his best time in five years last summer at 1 minute 44.80 seconds,  Learmonth welcomed 2024 with optimism.

His season opener, clocking 1 minute 46.80 seconds earlier in the month, fueled his enthusiasm as he approached the British Indoor Championships last weekend. 

The championships, also serving as trials for the World Indoors, held the promise of Learmonth securing both a fifth indoor national title and qualification for the upcoming major championship.

However, the script took an unexpected turn. A chest infection, acquired in the week leading up to the British Championships, left Learmonth contemplating whether he should even take his place at the starting line. 

Nevertheless, known for his resilience, Learmonth decided to defend the title he had won for the fourth time in 2023.

The outcome, unfortunately, did not align with Learmonth's aspirations. In a closely contested race, he was narrowly edged out for the gold medal by Englishman Jack Higgins, with both athletes recording a time of 1:47.91. 

Falling short of the automatic selection time, Learmonth found himself excluded from the initial 21-strong group of GB athletes named for the squad heading to Glasgow for the World Indoors.

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