JOHANNESBURG, South Africa’s top athletes have voiced their unhappiness over what they regard as an unfair selection process by Athletics South Africa, the governing body for athletics in the country, for next month’s IAAF World Athletics Championships in London.
Athletes such as Olympics champion Wayde van Niekerk and Akani Simbine, along with a list of other senior athletes, feel the hard work they are putting in, is not being recognized by the officials of the ASA, which has named a 24-member team for the world championships beginning next Friday.
The athletes are having none of it. Senior athletes and members of the team such as South African 100 metres record holder Simbine and 400 metres world record holder Van Niekerk expressed their feelings on social media, saying the selection criteria used just did not make sense.
Former South African 400-metre champion Arnaud Malherbe said: “I’d like to know how they arrived at those standards. Then they proceed to select a team not utilising the standards consistently, they picked the bulk of the team on ASA standards which is understandable and then they pick athletes out. That’s where the confusion stems from.
The exclusion of youngsters who excelled for Team South Africa at the recent Under-18 World Championships in Kenya is also being questioned. Malherbe added: “We all know what Wayde has done — a world record holder, Olympic champion. If we did not give him the chance in 2013 would we have seen the Wayde van Niekerk of today?
Athletics South Africa, however, believes otherwise. ASA President Alex Skhosana, said of the Under-18 stars: “They are too young, they are 16 and 17 years old. They are not even Juniors yet. Juniors are the athletes who are above the age of 18.
Most of the complaints were around the fact that the ASA left out sprinters who could have competed in the 4X100 metres relay event and promising athletes who could’ve gained valuable experience.
“We have upped the times, distances and heights compared with those that are universally given to members for entry by the IAAF. If the IAAF took all the times in the world, our athletes ranked 18th. There’s nothing we can do, they must try for next year’s Commonwealth Games to get medal consideration for the 2019 World Championships, Skhosana explained.
Monday was the deadline for national federations to submit their final teams to the IAAF and it is thus unlikely that names will be added to South Africa’s 24-member squad.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK