Daryll Neita has ‘clear head’ for World Championships after UK Athletics dispute
Daryll Neita insists she has moved on from any dispute with UK Athletics and heads into the World Championships with a clear head.
At the World Indoors in March, the 100m Olympic finalist accused UKA of “blackmail” after she was warned in November she would lose her lottery funding if she stayed with former coach Rana Reider.
The 25-year-old left Reider’s training camp in Florida, with the coach the subject of an investigation by US SafeSport after multiple complaints of sexual misconduct were made against him. His lawyer has previously described the claims as “unproven”.
She is now training in Italy with Marco Airale and, ahead of Saturday’s 100m heats with Dina Asher-Smith in Eugene, is in a good space.
Neita said: “It was very public what happened. I had to change camps. I was training in Florida but there was a lot going on there and it wasn’t the environment I felt like I needed, especially off the year I’d just had.
“It was my breakthrough season. I ran sub-11 for the first time in the Olympic heat, made the Olympic final, came fourth in the Diamond League final in 10.93. I felt like I was on a great trajectory and I needed to be in an environment that really suited that.
“So a lot happened, but I made the move to Italy with my coach Marco Airale and it’s just been great because I feel like I’m finally in a place where I can just train. My head’s clear for myself and we’ve got a great partnership, and we’re seeing that now.
“I think people weren’t sure what was going to happen, if I was going to do well or go backwards, but I knew the move was the best thing for me. I knew I needed to be in a good environment where I can focus and just get to work.
“I’ve honestly moved on from the whole situation. I’m completely out of it now and doing my own thing in Italy. But everything I said (about UKA) is what I meant at the time.
“We’re absolutely fine, we’re doing great. My federation is supporting me on my journey now and looking towards just good things. Everything is great.”
Neita runs early Saturday evening in Oregon having reached last year’s Olympic 100m final, the first time she had made a major final and where she finished eighth.
It is an experience she has been able to reflect on, even if she holds regrets over the biggest race of her career.
“It was my goal to make that final. Going to Tokyo, I imagined being in the final. I hadn’t made a global final before and I made it. I came last,” she said.
“It’s the last event so by that time the warm up area is empty.
“By the time you get to the women’s 100m final, there is nobody there. The warm-up area is dead and it’s dark.
“It was a very new experience for me going through that. The light show felt like it was an hour long but it was probably only two minutes. It was completely new. That was me getting my foot in the door but I didn’t perform.
“I did great to make the final but I didn’t run great in the final. I ran 10.96 in the heat, 10.99 in the semi, so to run 11.12 I really messed up.”
Asher-Smith pulled out of the 100m and 200m after suffering a hamstring injury in the British trials but recovered to win bronze in the 4x100m relay with Neita.
She was beaten by Neita to the British 100m title last month and has hinted at a difficult build-up but insists she is ready.
“I’m in shape, 100 per cent. I understand why and sometimes these things need to happen so you can go on,” said Asher-Smith, who opens the defence of her 200m title next week.
“This stuff needs to be clear and then you go on to bigger things. I don’t really, really want to go through it too much but it’s been a rough few months for me.
“Each race is a clean slate and when the gun goes nothing has been written. Anything is possible, and when you have lived that it is different from just saying it.
“At London 2017 I was thinking maybe I could make the final because I had been out for five months (with a broken foot). I almost got a medal, running 22.2 seconds, faster than I did in Rio.
“I’ve had no physical issues leading up to this since Tokyo. In that regard I’m happy.”
Also on Saturday, Eilish McColgan runs in the 10,000m final, with the Scot the second fastest in the world this year.
McColgan said: “I’m on the upward trend again and I can get close to 30 minutes which is a big aim for me.
“I’m not going in with any focus on medals or positions because I can’t control what the other women can do.”