Athletics South Africa’s selection: Kept alive by dreams, killed by reality.

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SA 200m champion Alyssa Conley

What was meant to be a celebration for Athletics in South Africa turned into a nightmare for some of our top athletes when the governing body announced the team that would represent country at the World Championships in London next month.

While the team included 400m world champion Wayde van Niekerk, Olympic medalists Caster Semanya, Luvo Manyonga and Sunette Viljoen. It was the exclusion of athletes like Henrico Bruintjies, Alyssa Conley and hurdler Cornal Fredricks who made the headlines.

World champion van Niekerk took to twitter to show his support the excluded athletes, replying to a tweet from 100m champion Akani Simbini van Niekerk said “Too much talent bro selection should be our last worry. Guys work to hard for this type of rejection.”

After missing out on selection SA 200m champion and columnist Alyssa Conley released the following statement to us.

By Alyssa Conley

We as kids are taught by our parents, teachers, trainers and coaches that if we work hard and sacrifice we will be rewarded. That’s exactly what we do but then reality slaps us in the face and kills our dreams.

At the end of every season my team and I will put a plan together for the next season leading up to achieve my main goal which was obviously the IAAF World championships London this year. As an athlete you must have a solid preparation plan put together to peak at the correct time and with running the IAAF qualification standard (22.94s) in my opening race of the 2017 season, my coach and I decided to attack the year differently by training longer and racing closer to the WC2017 to peak at the championships.

With great disappointment but not surprised at ASA who set their own ridiculous standards that no one can justify. So instead of sticking to our plan athletes must become “chasers” and try to obtain this ridiculous standard. Mentally not being sure of your position as an athlete is draining, everyday we beat up our body on the track and at gym just for our dreams to be killed without any clear explanation.

I’m all for higher quality but I also believe in clarity and support for the athlete. So if ASA wants to set ridiculous standards, then be clear about it from the start of the season so we as athletes can plan better. Also SUPPORT us instead of killing our dreams.

The IAAF World championships will take place in London from 4 to 13 August 2017