We are the standard-bearers, ASA blast back
ATHLETICS South Africa (ASA) stuck to its guns, despite a flurry of outrage on social media for the national federation largely omitting athletes who have met the IAAF standards for the London World Championships.
ASA hasmade the unpopular decision of setting its own standards, which were markedly tougher than that of the IAAF’s times anddistances.
The result was the exclusion of 15 athletes, including former national 100m record-holder Henricho Bruintjies and fellow Rio Olympian Alyssa Conley, in spite of both meeting the IAAF’s B-standard.
It will be the first time since 1995 that SA will not have a male 400m hurdler at the championships with South African record-holder and 2011 world bronze medallist LJ van Zyl, Commonwealth Games champion Cornel Fredericks and Le Roux Hamman posting IAAF times but missing out on selection.
Athletes were given until Sunday to appeal but it seemed unlikely they would succeed with the federation playing hard ball. It was initially thought that the federation had reinforced the strict standards to limit the amount of South African athletes due to a lack of funding.
It has, however, emerged that the Local Organising Committee offers financial support to all athletes competing at the championships, which included andas a result of that they make an informeddecision.”
Skhosana reiterated the selection of the teamwasbased on the promotion of excellence and getting results on the global stage, hence the stricter standards.
“We are about performance, and you judge us when we come back with nothing and you as the media will say ASA is finished,” Skhosana said.
Late yesterday afternoon, ASA announced the withdrawal of discus thrower Victor Hogan,
from the 24-member squad after the IAAF had rejected his entry. Hoganwas ineligible for selection due to his nine-month suspension due to a doping offence.
ASA initially entered Hogan based on him earning a wildcard entry for winning the continental title last year but he had been stripped of his title.
“The IAAF in its decision has noted that because of his subsequent suspension for testing positive for a prohibited substance, all performances achieved in that periodare not recognisedand have been scrapped,” an ASA release read.
ASA’s selections provoked the ire of some of the country’s top athletes, including world recordholder Waydevan Niekerk and Olympic 100m finalist Akani Simbine, who voiced their disappointment on Twitter.
“It’s all goodand well when you want to groom talent but when there’s an opportunity to help the talent grow, you shut the door on them,” Simbine posted on the social network.
“We have the potential to be such a powerhouse in track and field but we keep missing it.”