The Union Jack flag has been stripped from the British Athletics team's kit, causing a host of competitors to lambast the organisation for the new design.
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.
Well this isn't right... Where's the Union Jack!?!? @BritAthletics
(this is the kit for worlds) pic.twitter.com/RAVoi6yRex— Greg Rutherford (@GregJRutherford) August 13, 2015
Rutherford pointed out that the London 2012 GB kit, designed by Stella McCartney, had featured the Union flag, while this one looks "shit".
He said that he has not yet found an athlete that likes the change in kit.
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— Greg Rutherford (@GregJRutherford) August 13, 2015
Most annoyingly about all this is that the kit itself is amazing! IMO the best kit to compete in material-wise. Just looks 💩— Greg Rutherford (@GregJRutherford) August 13, 2015
British Athletics has defended the kit, saying that the Union Jack remains an important part of the GB team kit, adding that the inclusion of the team logo will help to create a "strong team identity".
A number 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.
Dame Kelly, who is an Olympic gold medal winner in the 800 metres and 1,500 metres events, said she "totally agrees" with Rutherford, calling the Union Jack "iconic".
Totally agree. The Union Jack is iconic. https://t.co/c76u3VwbnJ— Kelly Holmes (@damekellyholmes) August 13, 2015
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."
The paralympian then tweeted #bringbacktheflag
We all put the kit on for the flag— David Weir CBE (@davidweir2012) August 13, 2015
@davidweir2012 I don't think any other organisation would be stupid enough to do it— Greg Rutherford (@GregJRutherford) August 13, 2015
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."
A spokesman for British Athletics said: "In regards to the new kit design, we would reassure athletes and fans that the Union Flag remains an integral part of the British Athletics team kit, and is included on the majority of items worn by the team, complemented by the words Great Britain across the chest.
"The inclusion of the British Athletics team name and logo is to help create a strong team identity for the British Athletics team.
"This follows the tradition of the vast majority of other Olympic sports, such as swimming and cycling, who have used their team name and logo on kit design for years, and creates a powerful team identity.
"This approach was also adopted very successfully by TeamGB when, in 2012, they replaced the traditional Union Flag with the TeamGB logo that resonated so strongly with the British public."
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