Athletics South Africa’s selection process for the World Championships in London has been a roller-coaster ride, ending in relief for some and disappointment for others.
Also read: Revealed: ASA’s shocking selection blunders
With a final 29-member national team announced for the showpiece on Monday, we look back at how the drama unfolded over the last week.
22 July – A 24-member SA team is announced. Five athletes who achieved the IAAF qualifying criteria, but not the more stringent ASA standards, are selected. Another 15 individuals who met the international criteria are left out.
24 July – Discus thrower Victor Hogan is removed from the team after the IAAF informs ASA that he did not meet the required criteria to qualify for selection and was stripped of his 2016 African title while serving an anti-doping ban. This opens the door for Russell Tucker to be selected as the African champion, but he is not included.
25 July – Sprinters Justine Palframan, Ariane Nel and Zoe Engler are added to the team, along with middle-distance runner Gena Lofstrand, lifting the squad to a total of 26 athletes after the IAAF invites the SA women’s 4x400m relay team to take part. Palframan (200m) and Lofstrand (800m) are also entered into individual events.
26 July – All appeals filed by the omitted athletes are confirmed to have been turned down, despite the IAAF offering to cover costs of all qualifiers.
27 July – A document shared by ASA, attempting to defend its selection decisions, is revealed to be littered with factual errors. This includes the federation’s apparent assumption that 16 athletes progress to semifinals at major championships (the target they set for B-qualifiers to be considered) though the IAAF allows 24 athletes to compete in the penultimate rounds of track events.
28 July – Hogan is again added to the final 29-member team, along with 100m hurdler Rikenette Steenkamp, after the IAAF invites both individuals to participate as “quota” athletes in order to fill the fields in the preliminary rounds of their specialist disciplines. This means a total of three SA athletes who did not achieve the IAAF standards (including Lofstrand) will compete in individual events, while 14 athletes who did meet the qualifying criteria will not take part.