Ath­letes have com­mon goal

And that’s to get the best times pos­si­ble to make se­lec­tion for Gold Coast Games’ squad

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - OCKERT DE VILLIERS

ATH­LET­ICS South Africa (ASA) chief ex­ec­u­tive, Richard Stander, has en­cour­aged ath­letes to tar­get the high­est pos­si­ble rank­ing to se­cure se­lec­tion for next year’s Gold Coast Com­mon­wealth Games.

Ac­cord­ing to Stander, only 100 in­di­vid­ual ath­letes per coun­try would be al­lowed to par­tic­i­pate at the qua­dren­nial show­piece.

“You have the in­di­vid­ual ath­letes such as ath­let­ics, swim­ming, which in­clude about 10 dif­fer­ent sports where the Com­mon­wealth Games Com­mit­tee al­low only 100 in­di­vid­ual ath­letes per coun­try,” Stander said.

At the be­gin­ning of Septem­ber ASA named a 63-mem­ber prepa­ra­tion squad for next year’s Com­mon­wealth Games.

ASA named a list of 13 ath­letes who au­to­mat­i­cally made the pre­lim­i­nary team for the qua­dren­nial show­piece “as a re­sult of their per­for­mances at the 2017 IAAF World Cham­pi­onships”.

Sas­coc pres­i­dent, Gideon Sam, said they would give clar­ity by Mon­day but his un­der­stand­ing was that each coun­try was lim­ited to 300 ath­letes across both in­di­vid­ual and team events.

“Ez­era Sha­bangu (Sas­coc high-per­for­mance man­ager) is there (in Aus­tralia) and she is com­ing back on Mon­day with a full set of in­for­ma­tion in terms of in­clu­sion and num­bers,” Sam said.

“Through­out the year they have been giv­ing pieces of in­for­ma­tion to the (Com­mon­wealth Games As­so­ci­a­tions) to pre­pare them.

“They are talk­ing about 300 plus man­age­ment which is are a lot of ath­letes.”

South Africa re­turned from the IAAF World Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don with its best medal haul, win­ning three gold, a sil­ver, and two bronze and fin­ished third over­all on the medal’s ta­ble.

“We’ve stressed to the coaches that the cri­te­ria are one thing, it is only a guide, it is only there to give di­rec­tion,” Stander said.

“They should be fo­cussed on where their ath­letes are com­pared to the world rank­ings or in terms TIP OF THE SPEAR: Olympic and world cham­pi­ons Wayde van Niek­erk is an au­to­matic se­lec­tion for the Com­mon­wealth Games, of the Com­mon­wealth Games rank­ings’ list.

“If they don’t fo­cus on that, you have peo­ple com­plain­ing about their ath­letes not mak­ing the team and they use all sorts of ex­cuses.”

World cham­pi­onship gold medal win­ners Wayde van Niek­erk (400m), Caster Se­menya (800m), and Luvo Many­onga (long jump) were among the ath­letes who only needed to show some sort of fit­ness ahead of the Games to earn se­lec­tion.

The ath­let­ics sea­son has al­ready started, giv­ing ath­letes an op­por­tu­nity to post qual­i­fy­ing times and dis­tances un­til the dead­line of De­cem­ber 31.

“Go­ing for­ward we will give up­dates and add ath­letes to the squad each month as the ath­letes qual­ify while we would also in­di­cate where they are in the Com­mon­wealth rank­ings,” Stander said.

“The ath­letes will have to po­si­tion them­selves as well as pos­si­ble to the top of the rank­ings list when we present the team to Sas­coc so that we don’t have a swim­mer filling the place of an ath­lete.”

A host of lo­cal meet­ings have al­ready started in Septem­ber and will run through to the mid­dle of De­cem­ber.

Stander said ASA would con­sider host­ing the South African Se­nior Cham­pi­onships be­fore the Com­mon­wealth Games fol­low­ing re­quests at the re­cent ASA Na­tional Coaches Sym­po­sium in Bloem­fontein.

The ASA boss said a healthy num­ber of ath­letes have also shown in­ter­est in rep­re­sent­ing the coun­try at next year’s World In­door Cham­pi­onships to be held in Birmin­gat the be­gin­ning of March.

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