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New criteria for Commonwealth Games hopefuls

Athletics

JOHANNESBURG - The dream of competing at the Commonwealth Games got a bit easier with Sascoc lowering the qualifying criteria for the 2018 showpiece along the Gold Coast, Australia.

Three years ago, athletes and teams had to be ranked in the top five in the Commonwealth to be eligible for selection. Before South Africa's Durban lost the 2022 hosting rights earlier this year, Sascoc decided to ease the entry standards hoping to unearth more potential medallists.

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Gold Coast Commonwealth Games mascot Borobi. Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters

To be considered for selection for next year’s Games, athletes would have to be ranked within the top 10 among Commonwealth countries.

Speaking at the arrival of the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay from Lesotho, Sascoc chief executive Tubby Reddy said it had been decided to introduce a more lenient criteria.

“When we were supposed to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the idea was that we should have a bigger team and broaden the base,” Reddy said.

He added that the idea was to give more athletes an opportunity to qualify and participate at a major multi-sport event. He said although the relaxed criteria was introduced with an eye on Durban 2022, the intended outcome would be the same if they kept it as initially planned.

“We’ve always said to federations, they could come and change the policy. If they are not happy with the policy they can motivate other federations, come to the general meeting, and say they are changing it,” he said.

Reddy said Sascoc would only start working on the qualifying criteria for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics once it had received guidance from the IOC.

“I think the debate will be more robust going forward, I think people start to realise that you can’t come and say Sascoc decided,” Reddy said.

@ockertde

The Star

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