A senior environmental trustee in Merseyside has praised the decision of athlete Innes FitzGerald to turn down a Team GB call up in the interest of the environment.
Dr Derek Gould, a trustee at Merseyside Environmental Trust and Chair of Cycling UK, said FitzGerald’s decision not to fly to Australia for the World Cross Country Championships was “bold”.
And he hopes her decision sparks conversation surrounding the environmental crisis in sport.
He said: “It is bold of her, and I appreciate her career is about meeting these events head on and she loses that chance.
“Hopefully, this helps spread the word among sportspeople.”
Additionally, FitzGerald’s peer Joe Wigfield, from Wirral AC, vocally supported her decision saying that he respects her.
Wigfield, who has also been selected for the Team GB squad, said: “It’s her decision and I respect it and credit to her for sticking by it.”
Wigfield accepted the call up and is now in Australia.
She cited the reason for her decision as climate change and environmental concerns.
She told BBC Newsbeat she could not justify the decision to travel to Australia.
“I had to make a move. I had to do something just to make sure people were aware of the problem.”
FitzGerald wrote to British Athletics, first reported by Athletics Weekly, telling them that travelling would fill her with ‘deep concern’.
“I would never be comfortable flying in the knowledge that people could be losing their livelihoods, homes and loved ones as a result.”