Akani Simbine (R) and Henricho Bruintjies (L) sprinted to a rare gold-silver double in the Gold Coast. Photo: Dean Lewins/EPA
 'Damned if you do and damned if you don’t', would be what Athletics South Africa (ASA) are thinking after taking flak for their selections for two different teams.

Comrades Marathon women’s winner Ann Ashworth declined selection for the World 100km Championships in Croatia, citing ASA’s lack of support for her decision.

ASA also announced a 79-member squad for the African Athletics Championships in Asaba, Nigeria, in August.

Commonwealth silver medallist Henricho Bruintjies is one of the glaring omissions. with the former SA 100m record holder voicing his annoyance with the snub.

“I deserve a bit more respect because I performed beyond people’s expectations returning with a medal at the Commonwealth Games,” Bruintjies said ahead of his race at the Paris Diamond League meeting today (Saturday).

“It is just disappointing not to be selected, and I believe I would have been in the medals. We need to get people that can select professional teams and not based on a piece of paper.”

It is now the second consecutive year Bruintjies have been left out of a team at a major championships. Last year he met the IAAF’s qualifying standards for the World Championships but did not make the cut according to ASA’s stricter criteria.

ASA has come under severe criticism for creating parallel criteria to that of the IAAF to the detriment of the athletes. For the African Championships, they have strictly stuck to the top rankings in each event to make their selections, without considering current form. This meant seven-time SA 100m champion Simon Magakwe and Roscoe Engel have earned places ahead of Bruintjies.

Magakwe has consistently posted sub-10.20 second times on the European circuit including a 10.11 in Nivelles, France last Saturday. Engel, in turn, clocked a personal best of 10.06 in his semi-final of the national championships, knocking 0.13s off his previous PB set seven years ago.

He has not come close to that time since, clocking 10.44 and 10.45 in his last two races in Paarl in March and Stockholm.

“Sometimes you have to show form sometimes, and if you do they don’t select you, so I don’t know what you are supposed to do,” Bruinties said.

“I don’t even know if there is a criterion because sometimes you have to qualify the year before, or at other times on the day of a specific meet!”

Bruintjies clocked a season’s best of 10.10 in his semi-final at the SA Championships but has consistently posted sub-10.20 times over the past month.

He ran 10.11 at an IAAF Challenge meeting in Madrid last Friday before clocking 10.28 in Tomblaine, France on Wednesday.

“We don’t get support and those kind of things from our federations so we have to count on winning medals to make money from the sponsors,” Bruintjies said.

“When you don’t get selected like for last year’s championships, you run the risk of your contract being cut even though you do what you are supposed to do.”

While Bruintjies has not been selected for an individual event he has been included in the 4x100m relay team for the continental championships.


Saturday Star

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