Alexandra Bell has floated the idea of taking legal action against UK Athletics after being omitted from funding for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Bell was Britain’s best-performer in the 800 metres at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, clocking faster times than Lynsey Sharp and Shelayna Oskan-Clarke.
Nevertheless, the 27-year-old has been omitted from UKA’s world-class programme.
“I’m not the first athlete who’s probably gone through this, but I want to be the last,” Bell remarked during an interview with BBC Sport.
“I would welcome legal advice and legal action because it’s not right what they’ve done. I’m happy to stand up for when something’s not right. And that’s what I intend to do.”
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Athletes treated ‘like dishcloths’
Bell opined that UKA had behaved “disgracefully” and that athletes had been treated “like dishcloths.”
The UKA has reiterated its stance that it does not react to individual cases, while head of endurance Barry Fudge – who Bell blames for the decision – has also declined to comment.
Bell had initially taken to social media after her appeal was rejected and has shed more light on the situation after her application for a second appeal was similarly rebuffed.
No comment from Barry Fudge
The World semi-finalists alleges that Fudge said she didn’t have a “medal mentality” after missing out on last year’s European Championships in Berlin.
“It’s going to be a struggle. But you look at the last two years and I’ve managed without it,” Bell added after claiming she will miss out on £15,000 of funding.
“I’ll continue to strive to reach my goals and achieve my dreams.
“It’s not about the money. You can’t take that away from the people who are on the funding. They’ve done whatever they can to get on to it, and I completely appreciate that.
“But everybody’s scared to say something as they don’t want to jeopardise the future. But people need to say something.
“I’ve gone through this twice now, and I just don’t want any other athletes to do the same.”
The disagreement is yet another bout of negative publicity for UK Athletics in the run-up to Tokyo 2020.
The organisation will have to hope their athletes – funded or not – can run impressively in the Japanese capital, while they themselves limp towards the event under a cloud of controversy.