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Athletes slam Athletics Ireland for abandoning World Championships selection rules

By on July 8, 2022 0

Irish athletes Luke McCann and Kate Veale have been infuriated by Athletics Ireland’s decision to drop its own selection criteria in the 11th hour and add two more athletes to its squad for next week’s world championships in Oregon.

Shot putters John Kelly and Eric Favors were added today despite neither reaching the required B standard of 20.60m, both qualifying via World Athletics invitational based on world rankings. Veale, McCann, Georgie Hartigan and Michelle Finn were also offered invites by World Athletics last week, all of which were rejected by Athletics Ireland.

“I’m absolutely disgusted,” said McCann, who clocked a time of 3:35.65 for the 1,500m in Belgium last weekend, six days after the qualifying deadline, which was well below the standard. Athletics Ireland’s B of 3:36.50.

The 24-year-old Dubliner was eligible to compete in Oregon via his world ranking should Athletics Ireland select him, but their decision does not mean McCann, a professional athlete with On Running, will miss out on lucrative financial bonuses due to his absence from the club. sport’s flagship event.

“I’m obviously delighted the shot putters have this chance, I just wish I was given the same opportunity. I guess I have to focus on (the European Championships in) Munich now, but I will always have this feeling of simulation.

Athletics Ireland said World Athletics had “specifically requested the Irish pair’s participation ‘in the shot put’ due to difficulties in filling the number of quota places in certain events”. However, its selection policy states that athletes “must meet at least one” of five selection criteria, none of which were met by Favors and Kelly. Veale was also eligible via her ranking, but the 35km walker will have to watch from home.

“I’m thrilled to see the boys having their chance, especially as pitchers, but being in the same boat as them (and not being chosen) is frustrating and disheartening,” she said. “We should give athletes every chance to compete in major championships. It’s weird that World Athletics sent an invitation and they didn’t accept it – our own federation doesn’t want us to go. There are a lot of inefficiencies in this organization as a whole and it’s frustrating that the athletes haven’t been put first.

Clark McCann, Luke’s father and longtime trainer, said he and his son had “fully accepted” that he was not going last week and that he “wouldn’t expect Luke to be treated differently under clearly defined rules”. by AI.

“However, to hear the news that Athletics Ireland has decided to break its own black and white rules and allow two athletes to compete who do not have the required B standards is a bitter pill for me and Luke to swallow. I am shocked and appalled and also deeply disappointed for Luke.

The shot put duo set lifetime records at Cork City Sports this week, surpassing the national record with Kelly throwing 20.16m and Favors 20.11m, although their chances of being competitive in Oregon are far behind an athlete like McCann, whose season-best 1500m 3:35.65 is only four seconds behind the fastest in the world this year, a performance difference of 2%. The best of Kelly and Favors are about three meters behind the world leader in the shot put – a difference of 13%.

Asked if the decision was against his own policy, Athletics Ireland High Performance Director Paul McNamara said: “AAI finalized the selections on July 1. These additions have been facilitated based on a direct request from (World Athletics). All selections according to the published policy were respected in the final selections. These additional entries were at the direct request of WA.

When asked if Athletics Ireland would do the same for next month’s European Championships – selecting athletes in events where the quota target has not been met if they have the required ranking but not Standard B – McNamara replied, “No. These additional entries were facilitated in response to a direct request from WA. The selectors intend to abide by the published policy when reviewing the selections as they did when reviewing the final selections for (the World Championships).

“World Athletics presented this as an exceptional circumstance which could have significant implications for the number of future participations in our sport at the Olympic Games in 2024 and beyond.”