New Qualification for Olympics from 2012 ?
AUTOMATIC ENTRY - or not any more ?
We were alarmed to read a recent e-mail, reportedly from a meeting of African NOCs, stating that the LOCOG of London 2012 was proposing a change to the accepted principle that any Olympic country can automatically enter an unqualified male and a female into the Track and Field Athletics events at an Olympic Games. We have NOT read this in anything coming from London. We wonder if it is true ?
HOW IT WOULD AFFECT US.
The proposition apparently opens the door to "the best two athletes" FROM ANY SPORT. Immediately this raises the question of how you compare a weight-lifter or a table-tennis player against a sprinter or a hurdler ? How is an NOC to judge their relative merits ? Will it be an estimation of ranking or possible result ? And is it easier to be ranked higher in a sport with relatively few participants ?
WHERE MIGHT THE OPPOSITION BE ?
Although doubtless there will be supporters of the idea from countries with sports which currently have to bid for "wild cards" (because they have no-one who actually "qualifies"), there will surely be opposition from several quarters. The IOC receives huge TV revenue at every Olympics, and the contribution of Athletics is recognised by it receiving twice as much IOC funding as any other sport after e.g. the Sydney Games. So will the IOC risk losing the support of the athletes from the "little countries" ?
And what about the voices of the "little countries" ? They each have a vote. Would they support their Athletes or would they take the opportunity of promoting athletes from other sports ?
THINKING POSITIVELY !
If you, like us, view this as a perceived threat to the development of Track and Field in your country, maybe you should - as we have been aiming at for a while - target the achievement of an Olympic "B" Standard and thus do two things. You will automatically qualify one of your Athletes, and you will help to give Lamine Diack a Happy New Year !