Thursday, August 23, 2012

Yohan Blake insulted by UKA

The manager of triple Olympic medallist Yohan Blake has accused UK Athletics promoter Ian Stewart of making an "insulting" offer for his sprinter to compete in Sunday's Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix and of being interested only in providing a platform for double Olympic champion Mo Farah.

Cubie Seegobin said he was taken aback by an email sent to him by Stewart on the final day of the London Olympics offering the Jamaican world champion $40,000 (£25,000) to run in Birmingham. He said there had been no prior discussion and it "didn't come close" to the athlete's worth.

The offer was rejected and, instead, Blake has accepted invitations to compete in Lausanne on Thursday, Zurich in a week's time and Brussels on September 7. As the world's second-fastest sprinter behind Bolt, Blake is believed to be commanding appearance fees of $150,000 - half of what Bolt earns per meeting.

"There's an arrogance about these meets in England," said Seegobin. "There's something wrong. The attitude seems to be, 'We've got Mo Farah so we don't need anyone else'. Birmingham has a big West Indian community and you would have thought they would want to see Yohan Blake or Warren Weir or some of the other Jamaicans."

The only men's sprint race on the Birmingham bill is the 200 metres, in which the top-ranked athlete is American Wallace Spearmon, who was fourth in the Olympic final.

Bolt is a long-term absentee from Britain's main grand prix athletics events because, under UK tax law, he would be liable for a percentage of his entire global earnings if he competed on British soil. The law was waived for the Olympics.