Meet the sprinter pleading with Seb Coe to allow him to switch to Ireland in time for Sunday

Leon Reid talks to Off The Ball about his case as the World Athletics Championships close in

BY Raf Diallo 20:23 Friday 21 July 2017, 20:23 21 Jul 2017

Northern Ireland's Leon Reid walks off after being disqualified for a false start in the Men's 100m Heat 3 at Hampden Park, during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images

When the World Athletics Championships begin next month in London, sprinter Leon Reid won't be able to compete as it stands, despite setting a qualifying time.

And it's down to a question of eligibility with the British born athlete looking to switch allegiances to Ireland, with his mother hailing from this island, having been born in Belfast.

The selection deadline is Sunday which leaves a very small window for a transfer paperwork to be filed appropriately and Reid has pleaded with IAAF president Seb Coe to pave the way for his switch to Ireland by Sunday:  

Tonight, Reid joined Off The Ball to discuss his case and he explained his Irish background, before touching on why he wants to make the switch.

"It was always in the back of my head but it was more the passing of my birth Mum. She died last year," he said.

"It was more that that really pushed it and as a family we kind of made a decision and then we went forward with it."

Under Team GB auspices, he felt he was "getting overlooked even when I was running well" and that it was "an easy decision to switch over".

Reid also discussed the early challenges he faced in his youth.

"I spent pretty much most of my life in and out of care so I was always growing up with different people, different families. I think it was 14 different foster homes so quite a few," he said, before touching on the effect athletics had in those formative years.

"I was able to spend not so much time at home. I was always travelling on teams and stuff like that. It was always good to get away from... because some foster carers they don't really care about children - they're just doing it for the money. Some of my foster carers wouldn't even like me travelling away to go representing either England or Great Britain. They'd always moan and worry about the cost and stuff like that rather than me representing the country. So I had to do it on my own really."  

He added that things like that "kind of builds anger" and once he left the foster care system, endeavored to find out more about his family history.

"I've been over six or seven times over to Ireland this year alone," he said, before explaining the situation in regards to the switch being stalled.

"I think it was just down to human error - just someone forgot to reply to an email and from there it's just that no one's chased it up and from then it's just grew and grew and they put the international ban on. But it was only down to someone not replying to an email as I understand so far." 

You can listen to the full interview on the podcast player or stream/download on iTunes: 

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