Olympic sprinters Adam Gemili and Laviai Nielsen have been dropped from UK Athletics funding after defying orders from the governing body to leave their coach who has been accused of a number of sexual allegations.
Gemili, Nielsen and fellow Team GB runner Daryll Neita were last month told to cease contact with Rana Reider’s Florida-based group or be removed from UK Athletics’s World Class Programme, and lose the associated funding.
While Neita has chosen to leave the group and find alternative coaching, Gemili and Nielsen have stayed loyal to a coach who has built a reputation as one of the best in the world. It is understood they do not yet feel they have sufficient information about the nature of the allegations to walk away from Reider’s Tumbleweed group.
By remaining with Reider, they have effectively taken the unprecedented step of quitting the national programme. While they remain eligible to compete for Britain, they have relinquished funding and associated medical help.
Gemili, a world 4×100 metres champion and four-time European champion, said: “Having spoken with UKA, US SafeSport and various athletes within the Tumbleweed group, I feel as though it is correct to trust that the proper organisations will conduct a thorough investigation and quickly outline their findings.
“UKA are understanding of my decision and although I will not be on the WCP programme whilst the investigation is ongoing, we shall continue to closely work together.”
Last month, Reider’s lawyer Ryan Stevens confirmed the US Center for SafeSport – an independent organisation that handles allegations of abuse within Olympic and Paralympic sports – had assigned an investigator, but said his client had not yet been given notification of the allegations.
SafeSport told The Telegraph it does not reveal details of investigations, but UK Athletics said a SafeSport investigation is imminent. The Telegraph has asked Neita and Nielsen’s representatives for comment.
Nielsen only relocated to join Reider’s group in Florida this winter after an injury-hit season that saw her run as part of the British 4x400m relay team at the Tokyo Olympics.
Of Gemili and Nielsen decision, a UK Athletics statement read: “UKA understands the significant commitment these athletes have made to be based in Florida for the winter and that they will remain part of the training group until a further update from US SafeSport is provided.
“All lines of communication will remain open with the athletes and we will support them with any future decision making as and when there are any developments communicated by US SafeSport.”
Athletics Canada last month confirmed it had suspended any payments to Reider, who coached Canadian Andre De Grasse to Olympic 200m gold in Japan.