AFN warns ‘lazy athletes’ as IAAF releases entry standards

Athletes negotiating the bend during the 200m women final at the Eko 2012 National Sports Festival. The AFN has decreed that only those who made the qualifying standards would be taken to the London 2017 World Championships. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI.

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) said yesterday that no athlete has booked a ticket for this year’s IAAF World Championships, tagged London 2017.

The declaration came just as the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) released the full qualification system and entry standards for the London 2017 event yesterday.

According to IAAF, the qualification system combines entry standards and invitations based on performance lists. “As was the case for the 2015 IAAF World Championships and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the IAAF has established a target number of athletes for each discipline (apart from the 10,000m, marathon and race walks).

“There are still some special qualification opportunities and it will still be possible for member federations without any qualified athletes to be represented with one unqualified athlete (subject to certain conditions),” the IAAF said yesterday.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, the Technical Director of AFN, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama (rtd.) said the calendar of activities for this year was already out, adding that only athletes who made qualification mark based on performance this year would be included on the train to London.

“As it stands now, no Nigerian athlete has qualified for the London 2017 World Athletics Championship,” Nesiama said. “Any of our athletes who hopes to compete in London has to meet the standard this year. The era of picking athletes based on performance of previous years is gone.”

According to Nesiama, one of the programmes lined up by the AFN for the athletes to qualify for the IAAF World Championship in London is the AFN Golden League. “Apart from the Golden League, we also plan to enter our athletes in international competitions within and outside Africa. As I said, we will pick only those who made the qualification mark this year,” he stated.

According to the IAAF, individual athletes can qualify automatically for London 2017 World Championship by achieving the Entry Standard within the qualification period in accordance with criteria decided by IAAF, their finishing position at designated competitions and as Area Champions in all the individual events (except for the Marathons).

The IAAF says qualification period for 10,000m runners, Marathon, Race Walks, Relays and Combined Events is from January 1, 2016 to midnight Sunday, July 23, 2017 (regardless of the time zone), while all other events will be from October 1, 2016 to midnight Sunday, July 23, 2017 (regardless of the time zone).

For the 100m, a male athlete must run 10.12 seconds to make the qualification standard and 11.26 seconds for women. In the 200m event, it is 20.44 seconds for men and 23.10 sec for women. The standard for 400m is 45.50 seconds for men and 52.10 seconds for women.

For high jump, the qualification standard is 2.30m for men and 1.94m for women, just as 8.15m has been set for long jump (men) and 6.75m for women.
Also, the IAAF says the member federation of the ‘Area Champion’ will have the ultimate authority to enter the athlete or not, based on its own selection criteria. Meanwhile, the IAAF has made it clear that in the case of field events, the entry will be subject to the approval of the Technical Delegates.

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