It has, admits Guy Learmonth, been a week like no other.

After being omitted from British Athletics’ team for this weekend’s World Indoor Championships in Glasgow, despite being eligible to compete through his world ranking, the 31-year-old spoke in these very pages about how disillusioned he was about the sport he’s been immersed in for most of his life.

“I hate this sport, and I can’t wait to be done with it,” the 800m specialist admitted on Saturday.

Yet this week, there’s been a development that has blown his mind, and not in a good way.

Learmonth has been in regular contact with the global governing body, World Athletics, over the past few days and their legal team confirmed that under its qualification criteria, “there is an option for the host country to select an athlete in your (Learmonth’s) discipline regardless of his/her qualification status”.

Despite World Athletics’ entry deadline falling on the 11th of February, it was confirmed to Learmonth that his entry would have been accepted as late as this week, meaning he could have competed in Glasgow this weekend.

The Herald:

Yet, that option was declined, with British Athletics choosing to select a team in accordance with their own selection policy rather than take advantage of any wildcards.

So Learmonth, despite the opportunity being presented, has not been added to the GB team heading to Glasgow and instead, will remain on the sidelines.

The revelation was the final blow in a month that’s been full of blows for Learmonth and the refusal of British Athletics to add him to the squad, despite being given the opportunity, has only served to strengthen the feelings the Scot has long held about his domestic governing body.

“The bottom line is that our federation does not put the athletes first,” Learmonth says.

“British Athletics could have added me to the team, but chose not. I just can’t make sense of their thinking.”

What’s been somewhat surprising to Learmonth has been the overwhelming support he’s received from both the athletics community and the wider public about the decision to omit him from the World Indoor Championships team.

Some of the very biggest names in athletics, including four-time Olympic champion, Michael Johnson from the USA, have weighed in on Learmonth’s predicament.

And countless former and current athletes have voiced their agreement that no one should be put in the position in which Learmonth, who was not selected as he was not deemed capable of winning a medal or even reaching the 800m final, finds himself.

It’s this public outpouring of support that has taken the Scot’s breath away, as well as reinforcing to him that he’s not the only one who views the national governing body in a negative light.

“If I'm honest, I was a little surprised quite how many people have come out to support me,” he says.

“To see the response since the interview in The Herald last Saturday has been unbelievable and the number of people I’ve spoken to, right up the chain, has been quite overwhelming.

“I believed there would be certain athletes who might want to support what I was saying but wouldn’t want to speak publicly because they don’t want to jeopardise their own careers.

“But over the past few days, there’s been such overwhelming support across the board from past and present athletes to friends to people who are even in the team for this weekend, it’s been incredible. 

“For so many people to be sharing the interview and publicly speaking out has been amazing and it’s made me feel I’ve really done the right thing by speaking up.

“It just shows that athletes want change. We just want fair and equal opportunities across the board, as well as some consistency, which I don’t think is too much for ask for.

“In recent days, it’s not just me that’s put my neck on the chopping board, other athletes have done it too by speaking out.

“They’ve said they’re proud of me but I’m so proud of them for the public support because they could easily have just sent a private message and left it there. 

“But they’ve done it all openly and that’s why this story has received so much attention – because it’s become obvious that we athletes want change. We want to progress this sport.”

The Herald: Scot Guy Learmonth enoyed the head-to-head

Learmonth yet again reiterates that although part of his intention in speaking out was in an attempt to be granted a spot in GB’s team for Glasgow, his motivation was also to change this sport for the better.

And while he’s hopeful that, in the long-term, this can be achieved, he remains somewhat sceptical about the national governing body’s willingness to change.

“I wanted two things out of my decision to speak out; selfishly, I wanted to run this weekend and the other thing was to cause a positive change in the sport in this country in terms of fairness, consistency and transparency,” he says.

“If the selection policy is just solely about medals, how do you build an audience for the sport? Sport is about the stories and the journeys of athletes – that’s what brings people in and brings eyes to the sport.

“Sport doesn’t always go to plan in terms of winning medals – there’s upsets and shocks in terms of results. If it did always go to plan, why don’t we just hand Manchester City the Premier League title every year? Or in NFL, should we go straight to the Superbowl and scrap the rest of the season? Look at boxing, how many underdogs have become world champion?

“That’s what makes sport exciting.

“At the end of the day, sport is entertainment and to suggest only medal contenders should compete is crazy - it’s boring for the sport apart from anything else.

“They talk about inspiring the next generation but that’s nonsense. For any kids coming to watch this weekend, yes they want to see the global stars but they also want to see athletes in a GB vest and that’s what’s good for the sport, not taking opportunities away from athletes.

“It’s likely there’s athletes who are 15, 16 years old watching what’s been happening this week and wondering if it’s going to happen to them.

“World Athletics are well aware of what’s going and they have restored a bit of my faith in this sport, actually. 

“But British Athletics haven’t. 

“Globally, the sport is in good hands. Domestically, it isn’t.

“All I can hope is that we can have an open, calm and progressive dialogue.

“That’s what I want with British Athletics after the World Champs this weekend.

“I want to speak to the whole management team and I include the CEO (Jack Buckner).

“My worry is that while this has happened to me in this case, based on how British Athletics have acted, it’ll happen again. That’s the concern.

“Once this all settles down and everyone’s emotions have levelled-off, I hope we can have a constructive conversation about how they can do things better, moving forward. 

“If they want what’s best for the athletes and what’s best for the sport, they will listen.”

While Learmonth remains entirely convinced his decision to speak out was the right thing to do, he’s somewhat less decided as to whether or not he’ll be in Glasgow this weekend as a spectator.

Being at the World Championships where he expects Scotland to win at least a couple of medals, but unable to do what he personally does best – run – would, he knows, be bittersweet.

So it will, in all likelihood, be a last minute decision as to whether or not he appears in Glasgow over the coming days.

“I’ve been invited by World Athletics, they’ve given me a VIP pass for the event but I really don’t know if I’ll go,” he says. 

“Maybe I’ll rock up for a day but it’s been a crazy week so I’ll see how I feel by the weekend.”