"A promising teenage athlete has declined to represent Great Britain in a
competition due to be held in Australia because she is concerned about the
environmental impact of the associated travel.
Innes FitzGerald, a leading junior endurance runner, cited her “deep concern”
over the issue in a letter to British Athletics in which she asked not to be
considered for selection for the world cross country championships.
“To have the opportunity to compete for Great Britain in Australia is a
privilege. However, it is with great regret that I must decline this
opportunity,” she wrote.
In her letter, published by Athletics Weekly
, she said: “When I started
running, the prospect of me competing in the world cross country championships
would have seemed merely a dream. However, the reality of the travel fills me
with deep concern.
“I was just nine when the Cop21 Paris climate agreement was signed. Now, eight
years on, and global emissions have been steadily increasing, sending us on a
path to climate catastrophe.”
She said she feared the environmental impact of air travel was contributing to
the damage to people, “their livelihoods, homes and loved ones”, adding: “The
least I can do is voice my solidarity with those suffering on the frontline of
While she emphasised that her decision had not been an easy one, she said it
was nothing compared to the “grief I would feel taking the flight”.
FitzGerald has previously represented her country in meets held abroad, but
travelled by coach and train from her home in Devon to Turin for the European
Cross Country Championships last month."
*** Xanni ***
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