Irish athletes Luke McCann and Kate Veale were furious at Athletics Ireland’s decision to abandon their own eleventh-hour selection criteria and add two more athletes to the team for next week’s World Championships in Oregon.
Hot putters John Kelly and Eric Favors were selected today, although neither reached the required B standard of 20.60m, with both qualifying via invitation from World Athletics based on world rankings. Veale, McCann, Georgie Hartigan and Michelle Finn were also invited by World Athletics last week, all of which were turned down by Athletics Ireland.
“I’m absolutely disappointed,” said McCann, who ran 3:35.65 in the 1500m in Belgium last weekend, six days after the qualifying deadline, a time well below Athletics Ireland’s B standard of 3:36 .50 lies.
The Dubliner, 24, was eligible to compete in Oregon because of his world rankings if Athletics Ireland chose him, but their decision not to do so means McCann, a professional athlete with On Running, will miss out on lucrative financial rewards due to his absence from Flagship event of the sport.
“Obviously I’m really happy that the shot putters are getting the chance, I just wish I had the same chance. I think I have to focus fully on (the European Championships in) Munich now, but I’ll always have that what-if feeling,” he added.
Athletics Ireland said World Athletics had “specifically requested the participation of the Irish duo” in the shot put “due to difficulties in filling quota numbers at some events”.
However, the published selection policy states that athletes must meet “at least one” of five selection criteria, none of which Favors and Kelly met.
Kate Veale was in the same situation as her but the 35km walker will be watching the event from home.
“I’m glad the guys are getting their chance, especially as a pitcher, but being in the same boat as them is frustrating and discouraging,” she said.
“We should give athletes every opportunity to compete with big champions. It was my choice to do this, I wanted to do this, but my family, along with those around me, have made many sacrifices.
“I could have taken on a teaching role that I pushed aside for my athletics and now my season is basically over.
“It’s weird to me that World Athletics sent out an invitation and didn’t accept it – our own federation doesn’t want us to go.
“There are many inefficiencies in this organization as a whole and it’s frustrating that the athletes weren’t put first.”
Clark McCann, Luke’s father and longtime coach, said last week he and his son “completely accepted” he wouldn’t go as he didn’t meet published criteria.
“We couldn’t and wouldn’t expect Luke to be treated differently within the rules clearly set out by AI,” he said.
“However, the news that Athletics Ireland have decided to break their own black and white rules and field two athletes who do not meet the required B standards is a bitter pill for me and Luke to swallow.
“If an athlete without a B standard is selected, then all athletes who have a World Athletics invitation should also have an equal chance. I am shocked and appalled and also deeply disappointed for Luke after seeing first hand how dedicated and hard he worked.”
The shot put duo posted superb personal bests at Cork City Sports on Tuesday, beating the previous national record of 20.16m for Kelly and 20.11m for Favors, although their chance of being competitive in Oregon falls far short of that of an athlete as McCann stays behind.
McCann’s 1500m season best of 3:35.65 is just four seconds behind the world’s fastest this year, a performance difference of less than 2%, while Kelly’s and Favors’ bests are about three meters behind the world leaders in shot put – a difference of 13%.
Asked if their selection breached published policy, Athletics Ireland High Performance Director Paul McNamara said: “AAI completed selection on 1 July.
These additions were made possible based on a direct request from (World Athletics). In the final selection, all selections were followed according to published guidelines. These additional entries were made at the direct request of WA.”
Asked if Athletics Ireland plans to do the same for next month’s European Championships – selecting athletes at events where the quota target has not been met if those athletes have the required ranking but not B standard – said McNamara: No. These additional inputs were made possible in response to a direct request from WA.
“Selectors intend to adhere to the published guidelines when considering selections, as they did when considering final selections for (the World Championships).
“World Athletics has communicated this as an extraordinary circumstance that could have a material impact on future participation in our sport at the Olympic Games in 2024 and beyond.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/athletics/im-absolutely-gutted-luke-mccann-and-kate-veale-left-disappointed-by-athletics-irelands-world-championships-quota-decision-41825899.html ‘I’m absolutely disappointed’ – Luke McCann and Kate Veale have left disappointed by Athletics Ireland’s ‘quota’ decision at the World Championships