British sprinter Gemili blames media for failure

British athlete  Adam Gemili. PHOTO/AFP

What you need to know:

  • Gemili, who is set to compete in the men’s relay later this week, called for more safeguarding for athletes to help them cope with media interest.

Britain’s Adam Gemili says the media coverage around his coach Rana Reider has “taken its toll” after he failed to qualify for the 200m semi-finals at the World Athletics Championships.

Reider is under investigation for sexual misconduct and was warned by police after allegedly gaining unauthorised access to the athletes’ warm-up area on Sunday in Oregon.

“This year I have taken a battering and it’s showing,” Gemili said.

“I just was not good enough today.”
Gemili clocked 20.60 seconds in his heat, meaning he missed out on automatic qualification.

“There has been a lot of bad press around my set-up and me and it’s been relentless, every week it’s just taken its toll,” the 28-year-old said.

“I am old enough now that I should be able to separate it but I haven’t really been subject to this amount of press before. “I’m a lot better than that [time]. Mentally, [it’s been] very tough this year to keep my focus and not overstress. I just was not good enough today and that’s a shame for me.”

The US Centre for SafeSport is investigating multiple complaints of sexual misconduct against Reider, who has not been accredited for the competition at Hayward Field, Eugene.

In November, British athletes were told to “cease all association” with Reider until the investigation ends. At the time, his lawyer said no formal allegations had been made against Reider.

His lawyer Ryan Stevens said at the time it was “unfair to drag Rana’s reputation through the mud” before an investigation had happened.

Gemili and Laviai Nielsen were subsequently removed from UK Athletics’ World Class Programme after opting to stay with Reider’s training group.

Gemili, who is set to compete in the men’s relay later this week, called for more safeguarding for athletes to help them cope with media interest.

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