Leon Reid: Irish sprinter wants to move forward with athletics career despite criminal conviction

Leon Reid: Irish sprinter wants to move forward with athletics career despite criminal conviction

DISGRACED IRISH Olympic sprinter Leon Reid has stated that he will keep his Athletics career going after being found guilty last week of using his flat to produce crack cocaine.

He received a 21-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, and 220 hours unpaid work at Bristol Crown Court on Friday.

His agent Derry McVeigh says that his client wants to continue to race despite being found guilty.

"He will talk to Athletics Ireland and Athletics Northern Ireland," said McVeigh.

Due to America's strict entry rules regarding criminal convictions the suspended sentence could end the 27-years-old's involvement at the World Championships in Eugene Oregon

Mcveigh was asked the question about Leon being banned from the event and said the governing bodies will work that out

"We're just letting Leon decompress and talk to the governing bodies this week or next." he told BBC NI

"We're leaving it with Athletics Ireland to deal with it, with regards to the things that they are responsible for.

"In terms of putting a race calendar together for the year, where he's going to go - whether it's the European Championships and, or the, Commonwealths Games, he is to speak to Athletics Ireland this week and the Commonwealth Games authorities in Northern Ireland."

Despite facing charges last year Reid competed at last year's Tokyo Olympics and made it to the 200m semi-finals.

Reid was found guilty on Friday in Bristol Crown Court of allowing his flat to be used to produce cocaine and for receiving payment. His text messages showed amounts of £500 a month.

He was found not guilty of concealing criminal property and of three firearms offenses, which all related to items seized from his flat.

Reid's involvement in the case followed sub-letting his flat to a fellow athlete, Romaine Hyman, in the early months of 2020 when Reid was warm-weather training in South Africa.

Hyman was found guilty of 18 offenses and sentenced to 26 years in prison at the court hearing, with two other men given jail terms.

Reid returned to Bath earlier than planned in 2020 because of the global pandemic and then found himself having to answer police questions after his arrival back in the UK.

"The jury did note that he was in no way involved in the supply of cocaine or holding on to guns or stolen property," added his agent McVeigh.

"When he came back to that house, that was all going on in the background. He was not aware of that.

"He got a suspended sentence because criminal activity happened in his premises.

"What that criminal activity was, he didn't know. The way the judge summed that up was: he landed, he got stranded and he acquiesced."

The trial was scheduled to take place in November but had to be delayed because of the pandemic - and McVeigh said that only added to the emotional toll on him and his family.

"Like it would be to anybody, if it was your brother or sister or child that found themselves in that situation," he added.

As his Belfast-born birth mother struggled with addiction issues, Reid's childhood saw him spend time in 14 different foster homes before he was adopted by a Wexford woman.

After winning medals at under-20 and under-23 level for Great Britain, Reid's desire to switch international eligibility to Ireland was granted in 2018 - four months after winning his Commonwealth Games medal in Australia.