Tuesday 19 September 2017

Plan B makes no sense for future

In a few years, Athletics Ireland's decision not to take athletes on 'B' standards to the London Olympics is going to look stupid. Actually scratch that, it already looks very stupid.

Promising young athletes such as European finalists Jessie Barr and Brian Gregan, World Junior finalist Mark English and European semi-finalist Thomas Barr could only have benefited from competing in London. Yet each missed out on the 'A' standard.

"I think that would be opening a big paradox of people with 'B' standards and what's the criteria around it? If you take one, then you have to take them all?" said High Performance Director Kevin Ankrom.

That's some Grade A bullshit right there. Who says you have to take them all? Kevin Ankrom was at liberty to decide which 'B' standard athletes to take. As for what 'opening a big paradox,' means, your guess is as good as mine.

The proximity of London means that expense isn't a factor. So why not enter Jessie Barr in the 400m hurdles given that she's going to be there anyway as a member of the relay team? Or bring her brother Thomas, a proven championship performer.

Mark English recently ran within a second of the 800m 'A' Standard three times in one week, having previously come within four tenths of it. Had the Letterkenny runner staked everything on making the 'A' standard that week he'd more than likely have made it. But he couldn't because he was competing for Ireland in the World Juniors, where he finished fifth in perhaps the strongest race of the championships after three rounds of competition. The first two that day, Nijel Amos of Botswana and Timothy Kitum of Kenya will be serious medal prospects in London. English will be watching the games on telly. He shouldn't be.

After all, there are worse things you could do than bring athletes with 'B' standards.

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