Dina Asher-Smith has called out ‘the “powers that be”’ in response to news that the British Olympic trials will not be broadcast on television for the first time in a century.
In an initial tweet, the British sprinter said: ‘Disappointing. The “powers that be” need to make this happen. Heaps of internal changes for us athletes in an Olympic year and now this…’ In a separate tweet, she later added: ‘So much needs to change with track and field over here… The way we tell our narratives, the tone, the atmosphere, fan engagement, event structure and cohesion…’
Asher-Smith’s first tweet appears to be in response to a report from The Telegraph that the BBC declined to feature the three-day Olympic trials on one of its major channels, leading to British Athletics refusing to provide coverage of the event for free. Instead the trials will be streamed live on the British Athletics website and YouTube channel from June 25-27.
Perhaps the most high-profile race taking place at the trials will be Sir Mo Farah’s latest attempt to qualify for the 10,000m, after a disappointing performance in Birmingham earlier this month.
However it is not clear if Asher-Smith’s later tweets were in reference to the same news story. Commenting on her own thread, she said many athletes ‘feel like they can't open up as they're scared that their personal lives will be handled insensitively’.
She also tweeted in favour of assistance for coaches: ‘More support for coaches to succeed and grow, so the young athletes don't feel like they have to go abroad to get the expertise they want’.
Asher-Smith’s tweets attracted the attention of other athletes like British rower Karen Bennett, who replied: ‘I agree… Athletics isn't the only sport that needs to do that – rowing is the same although I think we have some bigger challenges! With you all the way!’
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