Scottish athletics chief Rodger Harkins has admitted telling Capital prospect Josh Kerr that he was being left out of his Commonwealth Games squad was the most painful phone call he had to make.
The European junior 1500 metres champion is considered one of the UK’s brightest hopes for the future following the indoor and outdoor titles he landed on the American collegiate circuit in 2017 before earning a breakthrough appearance at August’s IAAF world championships in London.
But his shock omission, Harkins revealed, was down to the New Mexico-based 20-year-old’s failure to land two qualifying standards – even after Harkins combed the split times in Kerr’s mile races Stateside in the hopes of sneaking him onto his Gold Coast team.
“It’s unfortunate,” he said. “Josh had a very long season from competing indoors and outdoors in the NCAAs, followed by world championships. He had a fantastic run of events in America but he decided, mid-season, that he was going to pull the plug and go back to America. That was a call he made. It’s unfortunate but we have to respect athletes who make those decisions.”
Instead it will be Kerr’s Edinburgh AC club-mates Chris O’Hare and Jake Wightman who will compete in the 1500m in Gold Coast, with fellow Scot Neil Gourley, who came fourth behind the trio at last summer’s British Championships, also left behind due to a lack of two qualifiers.
It has been confirmed that discus prospect Nick Percy, who would have been a strong medal contender, was refused permission to compete in Australia by his university in Nebraska.