MIAMI:As other runners wrap up their preparation for the World Championships in Beijing, Nick Symmonds plans to retreat into nature, seeking solitude after being left off the United States squad in a squabble over Nike uniforms the team must wear.Fishing and climbing rocks are a way for the middle-distance runner to clear his mind and deal with the “frustration and letdown that I’m experiencing right now”, he said.Symmonds, a silver medallist at 800 metres at the last World Championships, refused to sign a contract that USA Track and Field (USTATF) requires of all athletes before they’re placed on the team. When the official roster was named on Monday, Symmonds wasn’t on it despite his win at the US championships in June.For Symmonds, the issue is Nike’s standing as USATF’s official uniform sponsor. Anyone going to Beijing later this month on the US team is required to wear Nike gear at team functions. Symmonds is sponsored by a rival shoe company, Brooks, and wanted a clear definition of what a Team USA function was.”I guess a small part of me thought they weren’t stupid enough to leave me off the team,” Symmonds said. “Apparently, they are.”Emotionally and physically, I’m beat up right now.”Except for the exclusion of Symmonds, there were no surprises on the roster released Monday. There are five defending World champions on the US squad, including Ashton Eaton (decathlon), LaShawn Merritt (400 metres), David Oliver (hurdles), Brittney Reese (long jump), and Brianna Rollins (hurdles).Marquee sprinters such as Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, and Allyson Felix are also on the team.Taking Symmonds’ place in the 800m is Clayton Murphy, who finished fourth at nationals.too much powerThe 31-year-old Symmonds is known for taking stances on social and business issues that surround what he believes is a widely corrupt world of track and field. He said he couldn’t sit idly by on this topic, believing that giving Nike so much power on what athletes can and can’t wear at major events may hinder sponsorship deals down the road.”We have to wear Team USA kit at all official Team USA functions, which is fine. I’m fine with it,” said Symmonds, who plans to eschew training for a bit to fish and rock climb. “The problem is they never define what a Team USA function is. They do that almost on purpose so they can call anything a Team USA function.”USATF makes about $20 million a year in a sponsorship contract with Nike that was recently extended to run through 2040.The federation issued a statement on Monday, saying, “The only restriction USATF places on athletes’ apparel or appearance at any time is when they represent the United States in national team competitions, award ceremonies, official team press conferences, and other official team functions tied to these national team events.”USATF said it invests more than 50 per cent of its revenue directly into athlete support.”We look forward to continuing to expand our programmes for athletes and we hope to see Nick on future national teams,” the statement said.Symmonds was a Nike-sponsored athlete for about seven years before switching to Brooks last year. He did so because “I needed a company that could work with me and match my personality a little bit better”, Symmonds said.He won the 800m at the National Championships in June, finishing in a time of one minute, 44.53 seconds. Symonds decided to skip lucrative competitions in Europe to concentrate on his training in Seattle so he could be in prime shape for Beijing. He felt like he was possibly in even better condition than when he earned silver at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.”We’re not going to get a chance to find out what I can do,” Symmonds said. “That’s a travesty.”Although he has an airline ticket and a visa into China, Symmonds isn’t sure if he will attend as a spectator or watch from home.”I want to apologise to the fans who want to see me run,” Symmonds said. “I just feel that I can’t go out there and put on that Team USA jersey and feel good about it, while all the athletes are being mercilessly bullied and threatened by USATF at the same time.”
“It was a great effort from the team especially in the first three group matches where we really played well. Against Argentina, we had one or two mistakes which came back to haunt us but we will go back and look at what we need to improve for the business end of the championship,” captain Kristian Malumbe said.Against Argentina, Capital FM representing Kenya and Nairobi County in the tournament had a brilliant start with Shuyaib Shabir opening the scoring with a neat finish after much of the work was done on the left side by Jeff Ooko.Skipper Malumbe showed his eye for goal doubling the tally with a long-range effort after seeing the Argentines advanced leaving their goal unmanned.According to the rules, each goal conceded means you have to go a man down.Capital FM Football Team. Photo/ TIMOTHY OLOBULUWith a two-man advantage, the team took to knocking the ball around, but they were caught off when the Argentines cut off a long pass and attacked, halving the deficit.Their confidence boosted with the lone goal, they attacked in numbers and passed the ball swiftly, scoring two back to back goals to go 3-2 ahead. It was now down to three Argentines against two Kenyans.However, the Argentines saw their lead cut off when they scored an own goal when the defender’s control from a Malumbe long ball dropped into his own net.However, Capital could not force the game to a draw with the Argentines scoring their fourth 40 seconds before time.In the earlier games, Capital started their campaign with a statement thumping Belgium 5-0 before replicating the same result against Azerbaijan. Solomon Okeyo grabbed two, Ooko and Shabir adding one each with Lassie Atrash finishing off with a cheeky fifth.They went on with the form in the third game beating Japan 5-1 with Malumbe scoring twice after Ooko had broken the deadlock. Japan pulled one back but it was all morning dew as Ooko completed his brace before Atrash completed the job.Capital will know their next round opponents after the completion of the other group stage matches.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000The Capital FM Football team at the shores of the beach in Sao Paulo, BrazilNAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20- Despite losing their last match 4-3 to Argentina, the Capital FM football team progressed to the knockout stages of the Neymar Jr’s five-a-side football tournament which kicked off on Friday in Sao Paulo, Brazil.The Best mix of Music team finished second in the group behind leaders Argentina who qualified top with 12 points after winning all their group matches.