Birmingham 2022 chief has hit out at stars who opted to skip the Commonwealth Games and insisted they will regret failing to compete at the event.
Several leading names opted to miss the Games, including sprint world champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson. Many stars cited the fact that the event in Birmingham was held so close to the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon as the reason they skipped, with Fraser-Pryce actually in attendance.
Other world champions from the recent meeting in the United States that have elected to be absent from the Commonwealth Games include women’s 400m winner Shanae Miller-Uibo and Faith Kipyegon. The Kenyan edged out Brit Laura Muir – who is competing for Scotland – to win 1500m gold.
Regardless, Birmingham 2022 CEO Ian Reid remained defiant in the face of absent stars and declared they will regret their choice. He said: “We can’t make people come here but, if Shelly-Ann was here earlier and saw the atmosphere and the full stadium, she probably regrets it.
“To have 30,000 people in Alexander Stadium for every session of athletics, the atmosphere it’s created, I can’t think of anywhere better for these athletes to be. There are some others who aren’t here but my personal opinion is they will probably regret it.”
Reid’s sentiment was shared by three-time Commonwealth Games champion Daley Thompson. The Englishman won decathlon gold at the Olympics in 1980 and 1984, but won his Commonwealth titles between 1978 and 1986.
“If there are people that want to earn a living and go and race in Zurich or wherever that might be that’s fair enough,” Thompson said. “But from my point of view it was only ever about winning championships and being the best.
“I think the people who go for the money are missing out because it’s a brilliant place to be. Elaine Herah-Thompson was running today, she’s here. If it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for most people.”
These comments come after English swimming star Adam Peaty criticised the event, suggesting he was ‘not that bothered’ about the Commonwealth Games as he looked ahead to his 100m breaststroke final on Tuesday night. Peaty backtracked on his comments insisting the emotion had got to the two-time Olympic champion in the moment.