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The Challenge of Team Selection for the World Relays
- Updated: 03/09/2014
Although the addition of the IAAF World Relays Championships has caused challenges for the selection of national teams, numerous federations have resorted to various options for solution.
Most national championships occur either at the end of June or during July after the World Relays Championships.
Only federations in the southern hemisphere like Australia and South Africa have their national championships prior to the World Relays.
An exception to this is Cuba, just miles south of The Bahamas. They always hold their national championships earlier than any other nation in the northern hemisphere.
For those other federations in the northern hemisphere, one possibility is to stage trials expressly for the selection of team members, which would be difficult for those countries with numerous athletes attending schools in the United States. Another is to select who they consider their best athletes based on prior competition or by their listing in the current IAAF competition list or performances from 2013. A few countries may have special trials for the relays.
The Bahamas’ Plan
In the Bahamas, the current plan (subject to change) is to have a selection at the Silver Lightning Classic in early May. Numerous Bahamian athletes attend schools in the US and may not be able to obtain clearance from their schools for either to participate either in the Silver Lightening Classic or the World Relays.
The NCAA Regional Championships, for example, will be held on the weekend of the World Relays.
In Jamaica’s case, there will be no trial, but athletes will be selected based upon the IAAF competition list two weeks prior to the submission of entries deadline for the World Relays. Regarding the NCAA Regionals, Jamaica has numerous senior athletes who have finished their college obligations, and many athletes who reside in Jamaica.
Once they have that information, further scrutiny will be done by the federation prior to selecting the team.
In the case of the USA, the proposal submitted by the High Performance Committee and agreed to at the annual meeting last December was that a pool for the 4x100m, 4x200m, and 4x400m is to be selected from the top six athletes in each relay event in the 2013 World Championships and the top six on the 2012 London relay teams along with the first two place finishes in the USA Indoor nationals. They then look at the top athletes from the IAAF lists from 2013.
At the same time, various pools will be assembled to participate at several national meets with relays, including the Texas Relays, the Kansas Relays, the Mt. SAC Relays and the Penn Relays.
After the final pools have been identified they will have a camp in The Bahamas prior to the Relay Championships.
The USA vs. the World
Several nations will be invited to the Penn Relays (one month prior to the World Relays) to participate in the USA vs. the World segment. This Nike-sponsored event has been quite popular over the last decade, and the stadium overflows especially with the Jamaican teams and fans present.
Federations will have opportunity to see how fit their athletes are and make any necessary adjustments in the few weeks prior to the deadline for final entries.
At present many countries do not have specific trials for the World Indoor Championships. Each of those use guidelines to determine which athletes would best represent them, and usually, just one performance will not do. –Contributed by Alpheus Finlayson