South Africa's Orazio Cremona competes in the shot put final at the 2014 world indoor athletics championships at the ERGO Arena in Sopot, Poland. Photo: REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

JOHANNESBURG - Shot putter Orazio Cremona has found himself out in the cold and baffled about his non-inclusion in South Africa's team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia next month.

What made his apparent snub even more curious is the fact that Jaco Engelbrecht, who ranked below him during the qualification period has been included in the team.

When Sascoc announced the additions to the team earlier this week, Cremona questioned what qualified some athletes ahead of others.

“There has been no reply, and no logic in how they selected the team, I have no problem with Jaco, who I think should be included and I believed did qualify,” Cremona said. “I’ve done the stats on every person that have been included and excluded from the team and it doesn’t make sense.

“If they say the qualifying window is from August to December they can’t tell me whether they rank everyone in the Commonwealth over this period or do they rank my August throw against others that did theirs in January or February.”

Sascoc included seven track and field athletes for the Commonwealth Games including a men’s 4x100-metre relay quartet, 33-year-old distance ace Stephen Mokoka and two throwers.

Engelbrecht was added ahead of Cremona, with hammer thrower Tshepang Makhete also making the team.

Cremona won his sixth national title in 2017 where his personal best heave of 21.12 metres was the biggest heave by a South African on home soil.

While that throw ranked him fourth in the Commonwealth it did not fall within the qualifying window period and instead, his best at the World Championships in London of 19.81m ranked him just outside the top 10.

Engelbrecht’s best attempt of 19.59m at the world championships, in turn, ranked him one place behind Cremona.

Cremona opened the season with a 20.66m in Pretoria at the end of January which is the second-best throw of his career.

When Sascoc high-performance manager Ezera Shabangu was asked to give clarity on Tuesday, she only shrugged and could not give a definitive answer.

Cremona said inconsistencies were not only limited to his non-selection, with other athletes who ranked well out of the top 10 in their respective events.

“There is no consistency which is a bit unfortunate and no one is coming to the party and no one is saying who we can dispute it with or ask,” Cremona said.

While team selections were usually left to the federations, it seems like Sascoc may have vetoed Athletics South Africa in terms of some of the selections.

ASA chief executive Richard Stander said the athletics body submitted a team to Sascoc with the Olympic body announcing a different squad.

“They asked us to add a few more names and we said ‘sorry, you selected the team in the first place, you can add the other names yourself’,” Stander said.

“We can’t make out how they selected the team ASA is currently preparing for the Athletics World Cup (in London) and that is our focus.

“They (Sascoc) are leaving half of our team at home, I don’t really want to get involved with the politics.”

Cremona was also left out of the team for the World Indoor Championships that started in Birmingham on Thursday.

Stander suggested the fact that Cremona had not been a licensed athlete in his province when the team was selected played a role in the decision.

He said they would withdraw Engelbrecht from the Commonwealth Games team because he had not renewed his licence.

Cape Times

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