THE BLOG

Union Flag Debate

15/08/2015 00:26 BST | Updated 14/08/2016 10:59 BST

My heart sank when I saw that the Union (Jack) Flag has been omitted from the British Team Kit for the imminent World Athletics Championships in Beijing.

Sponsored by Nike, the British Team Kit has "British Athletics" and "Great Britain" typed across it - but where's the Flag?.

As a double Olympic Champion and international senior athlete for 12 years, I can say first hand the pride I felt each time I qualified to represent my country and how significant wearing a British vest was. The Union Flag represents a massive sense of passion and identity and an incredible sense of achievement.

Entering the vast stadium, I would always look for the British Flag fluttering in the breeze. For me the Union Flag stood out with a subtle superiority, bold and characteristic. I love that I am British and about to compete against the rest of the world.

Everyone who is passionate about representing his or her country would wear the identity with pride. For those lucky enough to stand on the podium and see their flag pulled up the mast, it can be dreams come true. A sports person's career can be short-lived, but the memories last forever.

As a runner, isn't a part of that dream to win a medal and be wrapped your country's flag for the lap of honour. The symbolism of a country's flag is important and cuts to the heart of our instincts to support our athletes.

Our athletes are competing not only for themselves and for British Athletics, but for Great Britain too.

Bring back the flag and let our athletes wear it with pride.

Dame Kelly Holmes

@damekellyholmes

@damekellytrust

@cafe1809