2019 Birmingham Diary: The British Athletics Championships (and World Championship selection trials), an intro...


20190824_121336.jpgAugust 24, 2019, Alexander Stadium, photo by Stuart Weir

Brit.JPGThe mascot, photo by Stuart Weir

The British Championships are a fascinating couple of days. Stuart Weir covered the event for RunBlogRun. We thank him for his coverage.

The British Athletics Championships (and World Championship selection trials)

Before getting into the action, let me explain the selection policy. From this side of the pond the USTAF selection process seems simple, brutal and harsh. Come in the first 3 and you are selected for Worlds or Olympics - no ifs, no butts. The GB selection process allows some scope for compromise and ifs and buts. All athletes seeking selection have to take part in the trials unless they have a medical reason, which has to be approved by the GB medical team.

Provided they already have the Doha qualifying standard, achieved in the last year, the first two finishers in each event gain automatic selection for the World Championships. The third spot is at the discretion of the selectors. That means that they choose an athlete or decide to leave the slot blank. This is where it gets messy. There is an appeals procedure with appeals by non-selected athletes not uncommon.

Compared to USA, GB simply does not have the strength in depth, so a rigid selection policy would be shooting ourselves in the foot. For example, Laura Muir is currently injured but - I am told - will be ready for Doha. We would be mad not to find a way of selecting her.

As will emerge from my reports, the issue of trial winners not having the qualifying standard is no academic matter but a very practical one for some athletes.

For the sake of completeness I ought to say that entrants in the 10,000, marathon and race walks are selected in a different way. The GB Championships used to be a three- day event but the Friday evening session has not been scraped as it was never well attended. One consequence is that the 400m has been reduced to two races instead of three with the entry level set a little higher.

As mentioned last week, this is the last event to be held in the Alexander Stadium before its revamp to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The current capacity of 12,000 with be increased to 18,000 permanent seats with an additional 12,000 temporary seats added for the Commonwealth Games.

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