ASA: more clueless than ever
AN attempt to clarify their controversial selection decisions for the IAAF World Championships has instead exposed Athletics SA’s (ASA) failed logic.
A document explaining their rationale behind the non-selection of certain athletes who have met the IAAF criteria but not ASA’s tougher standard has left the Federation with egg on its face.
The federation has left out 13 athletes who have met the IAAF standards while five more were selected despite not meeting ASA’s stringent standards.
The document showed clear mistakes and a clear bias.
Former South African 100m record-holder Henricho Bruintjies, who dipped below the IAAF qualifying time of 10.12 seconds two times this season, was deemed not good enough for selection.
According to the document Bruintjies, with a season’s best of 10.06, would need to run 9.99 to make it into the semi-finals at the world championships.
It also states in brackets that the semifinals are made of the top 16 athletes from the heats when it is in fact 24.
It also claimed Bruintjies was not considered for selection as there were three South African athletes ranked higher than the sprinter.
Although Wayde van Niekerk boasts a faster time than Bruintjies, the world 400m record-holder will not be racing the 100m sprint leaving space for another athlete to fill the third available spot.
ASA’s reasoning took a farcical turn when it tried to justify the exclusion of the country’s male 400m hurdlers Cornel Fredericks, LJ van Zyl and Constant Pretorius.
It claims youth athlete Sokwakhana Zazini has run faster than the senior athletes over the barriers.
While Zazini may have a posted a faster time, ASA does not account for the fact that he races over lower hurdles which result in faster times.
Finally, ASA claimed race walkers Marc Mundell, Anel Oosthuizen, Wayne Snyman, distance ace Dominique Scott-Efurd and decathlete Fredriech Pretorius were unlikely to qualify of the semi-finals based on their season’s best points and times.
These athletes have all qualified straight for finals and will not have to compete in heats at the championships.
A number of coaches, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation of their athletes, said the selection criteria was a challenge at the beginning of the year but ASA adopted it despite overwhelming opposition.
“To develop athletes and athletics you need to give them the exposure they deserve for reaching the qualifying standards,” one of the coaches said.
“If an athlete makes a world champs team based on the IAAF standards, whether it is according to the lists, the times or if they are a defending champion, then he must go.”
Another coach said no agreement was reached when the qualifying standards were discussed in the meeting earlier the year.