SPORTS Josh Kerr ‘massively disappointed’ by BBC Sports Personality of...

Josh Kerr ‘massively disappointed’ by BBC Sports Personality of the Year snub | BBC Sports Personality of the Year

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The 1500m world champion, Josh Kerr, has revealed his massive disappointment at his BBC Sports Personality of the Year snub – and joked that he would love to see the minutes of the meeting that left him off the six-person shortlist.

Kerr’s exclusion led the World Athletics president, Seb Coe, to tweet “Are you having a laugh, Spoty?”, while the UK Athletics chair, Ian Beattie, expressed his support for a newspaper article that called it “maybe the most glaring omission in the award’s 70-year history”.

But speaking from his training base in Seattle, the 26-year-old said that he would still attend the ceremony in Manchester on Tuesday to cheer on his teammate Katarina Johnson-Thompson.

“I’m obviously massively disappointed,” he said. “It’s such a prestigious event and an award that I’d have loved to have been involved in. It was one of the best world 1500m finals we’ve seen in a very long time and I was able to win gold. But I’m still going next week. I was already planning on that, and I’m going to represent British Athletics and to support KJT.”

Kerr also made it clear he thought that Johnson-Thompson deserved to win after her “amazing comeback” from a career-threatening achilles tendon tear, which led to a second world heptathlon title four years after her first.

“Look at her achievements – look at her story: 2019 was a long time ago and she’s gone through so much,” said Kerr, who stressed how much her gold medal on the opening weekend had inspired the British team to its joint-best ever haul at a world championships.

“It was a magical moment and we were able to follow in the footsteps of Kat. She was the first person to bring back that gold. And that inspired all of us to do our jobs.”

Meanwhile Kerr, whose dramatic 1500m victory over the Norwegian superstar Jakob Ingebrigtsen was one of the highlights of the sporting year, admitted that his Spoty snub would only fuel him to succeed at the Paris Olympics.

“I’m in a very cut-and-dried sport,” he said. “You’re fast enough, you run a qualifying time, you get into the event. Not a lot of things throughout my whole career have been dependent on the judgment of others. I’ve always been taught to leave with no doubt out there but obviously I left a bit of doubt, so that’s the reality.

“But I’m not sitting there crying about it. I’m getting out the door and getting my work in for next year. I’m here to get medals – that’s my job. That’s why I get selected. When it’s deemed good enough for Sports Personality of the Year, hopefully I’ll be there representing athletics.”

When told by one journalist that he should have been on the shortlist, Kerr replied: “I appreciate that – I’d love to see the minutes of the meeting if it’s ever going to come out.”

Great Britain’s Josh Kerr stuns Jakob Ingebrigtsen to win 1500m gold in Budapest
Great Britain’s Josh Kerr stuns Jakob Ingebrigtsen to win 1500m gold in Budapest. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Kerr also revealed that he might have to sacrifice competing at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March to be fully ready for the Olympic final on 6 August – and that he was currently having “very difficult” conversations with his American coach, Danny Mackey.

“It’s in Glasgow. I grew up racing there. So I’m banging the drum for it,” said Kerr. “But he’s like: ‘Well, you know, you told me that everything has to be towards this 6 August goal. So why are we getting emotional when, even if you win World Indoor gold, if you don’t make the Olympics, then the year is a failure.’

“It’s difficult to have an American coach sometimes, but it helps in other ways. Whereas if I had a British coach, I think it would be a situation of, like: ‘Let’s get patriotic. Let’s get down to Glasgow and do a job.’ Which is what I want to do. We’re in those discussions now. But it’s been a very difficult conversation and we haven’t come to any conclusions yet.

“Also, I’ve had this Olympics circled for a very, very long time – 12 years, to be exact. I realised that at that point I’d be at the peak of my career and in the 1500m it made sense that this would be the one. I look back sometimes and think: ‘If I could dream up coming into the year as a current world champion, already having won an Olympic bronze, I wouldn’t be in a much better situation than I am now.’ So I’m going in with confidence.”

Kerr also paid tribute to Mackey, who became a single dad last year when his wife passed away. “Danny is going through a lot in life,” he said. “He’s a single dad and he’s also got 14 or 15 other athletes that he treats like his family. But I don’t believe that he’s skipped a beat when it comes to coaching. And I owe my career to that, because I don’t know anyone else who could go through the stuff that he’s gone through, and continues to go through, and is able to be at the level he is coaching.”

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