We are the stan­dard-bear­ers, ASA blast back

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - OCKERT DE VIL­LIERS econ­omy class travel and full­boar­d­ac­com­mo­da­tion. “If you go to our cri­te­ria, it says ASA will have the stan­dards and ASA will se­lect the team,” said ASA pres­i­dent Aleck Skhosana. “The ASA se­lec­tors will look at where a par­tic­u­lar athl

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.”

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