A growing number of athletes have hit out over the lack of a Union flag on the Great Britain team’s kits for the World Championships.
Olympic champion long-jumper Greg Rutherford led the backlash against British Athletics when he posted an image of his vest on Twitter and questioned why the national flag was not featured.
A host of present and former Team GB stars, including Dame Kelly Holmes, have since backed the star, who won gold on Super Saturday at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The athletics kit for the upcoming competition in Beijing is a mostly blue jersey featuring the words “Great Britain” and the British Athletics and Nike logos on a large white “V” at the top.
Rutherford said: “Well this isn’t right ... Where’s the Union Jack!?!? BritAthletics (this is the kit for worlds).”
Halifax paraolympian Hannah Cockcroft added an extra dimension to the debate when she tweeted: “Funny how this didn’t cause public outrage when it was removed from the Paralympic kit last year.”
He pointed out the London 2012 GB kit, designed by Stella McCartney, had featured the Union flag before adding: “A hasten to add I’m yet to find an athlete who wanted the change. EVERY athlete I’ve spoken to wants the Union flag.
“Most annoyingly about all this is that the kit itself is amazing! IMO the best kit to compete in material-wise. Just looks s***.”
Rutherford defended the kit manufacturers though, writing: “Note that the kit is purchased in. Nike are not responsible for the changes at all.”
British Athletics did not respond directly to Rutherford but did retweet an Instagram post from hurdler Cindy Ofili, who wrote: “Excited to have finally received my first full British Kit!! Thanks britishathletics”.
But Paralympic champion David Weir added his voice to the Twitter storm, replying to Rutherford: “We all put the kit on for the flag. And I couldn’t see any other country do it.”
Steeplechaser Eilish McColgan added: “It’s unfair for athletes not supported by UKA to have to wear it ... Doesn’t make any sense! Bring back the flag!”
Paralympic shot-putter Sam Ruddock also joined in the condemnation, tweeting: “It’s such a shame. The flag says so much, to so many people, more than a brand ever could.”
Dame Kelly, a double Olympic champion at Athens in 2004, said: “Totally agree. The Union Jack is iconic.”