British Athletics will be spared the embarrassment of Justin Gatlin racing at its inaugural Athletics World Cup in London next month – but the event has been hit by further indifference from athletes in the US.
Sportsmail revealed in May that the new meet at the London Stadium on July 14-15 was suffering a headache with major doubts over the participation of bigger name athletes, including US sprinter Christian Coleman.
That situation has now been heightened with almost half of the USA’s eligible gold medallists from non-relay events at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 world championships ruling themselves out of selection by skipping their national outdoors championships, which start on Thursday in Iowa.
The list of absentees includes Torie Bowie, the 100m world champion, and 2017 100m world gold medallist Gatlin, as well as Allyson Felix, LaShawn Merritt, Brianna Rollins-McNeal, Kerron Clement, Dalilah Muhammad, Brittney Reese and Tianna Bartoletta, who are all either reigning world or Olympic champions.
A spokesperson for USA Track and Field confirmed to Sportsmail that their absence from the national championships would prevent them from being selected. Coleman, the fastest man in the world last year, is also confirmed as absent.
In the cases of Merritt, Gatlin and Rollins-McNeal, who have each previously served drugs bans, it avoids any awkwardness for the British Athletics, which launched the World Cup but has no hand in the selections of the other seven nations taking part.
They have previously snubbed Gatlin for invitations to their events on the grounds of not wanting athletes who ‘bring the sport into disrepute’.