Along with the philosophical change, the most significant procedural change compared to previous policies is that winner of the selection trial for each event – most of which are held in conjunction with the Australian Championships in Sydney in April – will be an automatic selection in the team so long as they reach at least the IAAF B-qualifying standard by the IAAF close of entries on 29 July.
With the world championships allowing a combination of A- and B-qualified athletes able to be selected, the policy rewards both those who win the trial and those who come into form later closer to the championship.
The changes should avoid a repeat of the embarrassment Athletics Australia suffered during the lead up to the Olympic Games with the controversies over Genevieve LaCaze’s initial non-selection, Steven Solomon’s selection in the men’s 400m and Tamsyn Manou and Joshua Ross’ non-selection.
“Some of the feedback we received in our Olympic review was that the Selection Policy in its former format could be misinterpreted depending on who was reading it,” conceded Athletics Australia’s CEO Dallas O’Brien.
Under the new policy, which in stark contrast to the legalese of prior policies is presented in plain English and includes diagrams and flowcharts to aid in its interpretation, the team will be made up of:
- Pre-selected athletes who finished in the top 8 at the London Olympics (or top 20 in the marathon)
- The winner of the selection trial (provided they qualify)
- Discretionary selections from other A and B-qualified athletes, with the intention to fill such available positions.
- Relay runners, with teams automatically entered upon meeting the IAAF qualifying time and the first three athletes in the relevant events at the National Championships automatically selected in the team as part of the relay squad
“On behalf of Athletics Australia and its Board of Directors, I wish all athletes, their coaches and their families seeking selection in the Australian Flame for Moscow the best of luck. We look forward to sharing what will be an exciting domestic season across the country with you, as well as watching you battle it out for teamspots at the Australian Athletics Championships and Selection Trials.”