One dissolved in tears, another exploded with rage.
The naming of Kenilworth’s British Road Championships 10k team was never going to pass off without incident. Within moments of a leaked dossier unveiling the 6-strong line-up in the shadow of Kenilworth Castle, emotions spilled over. The highlight being that Bryan has selected himself to captain the squad and will field an incomplete team of one, following the ridiculous selection drama earlier this week. He has however selected five reserves to travel, should they wish to fund their own travel and accommodation, so they can carry his bags.
Richard Simkiss of MCKEP, “shook and cried” after his remarkable omission from the squad. Richard Broadbent, ignored for the men’s team went ballistic and is going to appeal. “Absolute disgrace,” tweeted the unfunded 21-year-old Broadbent, who has spent the last 10 weeks chasing his dream while saving money by sleeping on someone else’s floor drinking Skol.
Out of the 6 men named in the squad only six have run faster than me this year over 5k and only 6 over 10k, and I’m not named in the team. I’m happy carrying bags.
The selector is a disgrace and has a personal problem with me.
Simon Mottershead, one of four athletes faster than Broadbent this year- all of them overlooked – was almost as furious:
The membership has spent a lot of money on flags, vests and loads of other crap this year…
…Don’t they deserve to see a full representation of Kenilworth athletes!?
It was a question repeated over and over as Bryan and his fellow selectors chose to put quantity before quality- even if it meant not filling places.
How, Simkiss wanted to know, could they justify leaving him out when only five of the six spots in the women’s team had been filled too?
Chris McCarthy did not wait for an explanation, or an official announcement for that matter. He tweeted that he was quitting the sport after, like Broadbent, losing out on team selection.
Through it all Bryan kept his cool.
“It was never our intention to select the best possible team,” he said calmly.
“We want the most inclusive team possible, and you all irritated me, so f**k off.” Which is why, he explained, they had taken the unprecedented decision of choosing himself.
Never before have Kenilworth picked an athlete who has not run the qualifying time demanded to get into Athletics Weekly, at the expense of 18 who have.
“But we decided I am the one with the best current form,” said the BBC News broadcaster look-a-like, 41.
“The panel is convinced I have the best chance of performing at the Champs.”
The biggest casualty of that decision is Andrew Siggers, a former Kenilworth Half Marathon ‘Cake Bake’ silver medallist, hurled from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other.
First came news that the Russian who beat him to first place at last year’s bake off had been busted for drugs – and so he was upgraded to gold. Then came the call from Bryan that his London dream had been ended.
To me it’s not welcome news about the gold medal as I went through heartache after that ‘failure’, It’s just another nail in my coffin today, to be honest.
…I’m totally shocked not to be selected. I always thought they would back me up and take me to the event, but maybe that was just wishful thinking…
…I don’t feel let down by the system, I feel let down by my body and Mary Berry. That’s the frustrating thing…
…But I wish Bryan the best. I hope he can now go out there and prove that he’s A-standard material.”
It is a safe bet Bryan and his selection team will be hoping the same.