The Commonwealth 800m finalist says the way British teams are picked needs to change to become “open and honest”
Alex Bell has called for change when it comes to the way British teams are selected, adding that the process needs to become “open and honest”.
Following the GB team announcement for the European Championships in Berlin and her unsuccessful appeal over her omission, the 800m runner expressed her extreme disappointment at being left out of the squad and the way she feels she has been treated.
The 25-year-old is ranked above Berlin-bound Brits Shelayna Oskan-Clarke and Adelle Tracey this summer, though Oskan-Clarke secured her spot by finishing in the top two at the British trials. With winner Laura Muir only racing the 1500m in Germany, Lynsey Sharp and Tracey were called up, with Bell missing out.
“They’ve disregarded all the criteria,” said Bell, who is the seventh-quickest European this summer with her 1:59.93 PB from May. “They’ve disregarded my current form, they’ve disregarded all the head-to-heads, they’ve disregarded my previous championship performances and the main one – they’ve disregarded the European ranking. I just need a reason, I need them to tell me what more I could have possibly done. I’m scratching my head, I do not know.”
Bell has achieved the qualifying time on four occasions this summer and was the only British athlete to make the Commonwealth final in April, finishing fifth for England.
She requested minutes of the selection meeting prior to appealing her omission from the team and said she was hurt by some of the comments.
“Looking at it on paper there’s no facts in this whatsoever, it’s all opinions,” said Bell, fourth at the British trials behind Tracey. “The appeals team told me they were going to go along with the ‘professional and expert opinion’ of the people who were in the original selection (meeting).
“One that stuck out for me is that ‘I’ve not got it mentally to do it at the top end of the sport’.
“I know it’s easy for people to say, ‘well next time what you need to do is take it out of the selectors’ hands’ but I just want people to know what actually goes on when it is in the hands of the selectors.”
Bell initially shared her thoughts on Twitter, posting a comment alongside a tweet which read “Thanks for nothing @BritAthletics”.
— Alexandra Bell (@alexbell92) July 28, 2018
“I was umming and ahing whether to put it out there and tell people what actually went on but I think it’s so important that people should know what’s going on behind closed doors and what people are actually saying in these meetings,” Bell added.
“Something needs to change. We either need to bring into place a new system, whether that be something like the American system or, like I said, if we’re keeping it the same – the way that that happens and the process, we need that reviewing.”
Bell, pictured above being presented with a framed AW cover by Nike store colleagues in Leeds, continued: “If we’re going to keep the selection process the way that it is, especially with this third discretionary spot, we need to know who is selecting the team, who is responsible for who says what.
“I’m still in PB shape and I’ve still got business to do. I won’t let this stop me. It’s just going to drive me on, I’m sure.”
British Athletics said it does not comment on individual selection matters or any part of the appeal process.