Following the team selection policies from different provinces makes for very interesting reading. We basically have two ends of the world with Athletics Gauteng North following a strategy that is all inclusive selecting the maximum ASA allowed size team of 18 athletes, and then you have Boland Athletics following a policy that is closely aligned with the ASA school of thought were athletes are selected according to qualifying times (yes you are reading correctly ) qualifying times for cross country, resulting in the provinces only selecting one or two athletes per age group and no athletes in some age groups. The rest of the provinces are pretty much bundled in between these two opposing strategies. Central Gauteng Athletics traditionally follows a very strict selection policy with only the top six athletes gaining selection even with the vast talent available in the province. It is hard to criticise the CGA policy as for up to this year 2018 they have been on the top of the medal table at SA cross country championships. In recent years Athletics Free State, Mpumalanga Athletics, and KZN Athletics started following the AGN model in selecting bigger and bigger teams especially in the younger age categories.
At the recently completed SA championships in Port Elizabeth, Athletics Gauteng North for the first time tops the medal table with a total of 69 medals. A clear indication that the policy of selecting the maximum allowed team size over the past couple of years is finally paying dividends. One often hear criticism against the province for selecting such big teams, but if you have a closer look at the results you will find that most of the 18th selected athlete from the province finds himself or herself in the top 50 athletes at the National championship. CGA finds itself second on the medal table, and other provinces also following all inclusive selection policies such as KZN, AFS, and AMPU finds themself's third,fourth, and fifth on the medal table. Now lets look at the other end of the scale. Boland Athletics with the most restrictive selection policy walks aways with two individual medals and zero team medals, lingering in the 13th position on the medal table.
Who is building cross country runners for the future, fortunately figures do not lie. AGN with the most inclusive selection policy bagged the most medals 69, and CGA that runs excellence driven highly competitive league ran away with the second most medals 61. KZN,AFS,AMPU all selecting large teams took home 27,25, and 15 medals respectively. Then you have Boland Athletcis that makes it as hard as possible for young talents to compete at SA Champs only banking 2 medals. I think the answer is a easy one.
Over the past couple of months, I attended a few Track and Field functions, and followed media releases pertaining to our current World ranking in Track and Field . The message has been consistent, we currently hold the number 3 ranking in the world, and we are going after the big nations such as the USA. I believe the message is fundamentally flawed and is a total distortion of the real facts.
By doing the most elementary analysis of the IAAF world ranking for Senior men, one will realise that our medals at the previous World Champs came from three super stars (Wayde, Luvo, and Ruswahi and this together with another super star Caster in the ladies division earned us a third position.
Now with Wayde recovering from a long term injury, two of those medals can disappear, dropping us down the medal table, assuming Luvo,Ruswhai, and Caster can retain the same medals at the following championship event. One then has to look where additional medals are going to come from not only to try and retain our current position but also to go after the USA as broadly promoted by the administrators. It is here where things fall apart. According to the current IAAF World rankings our number one ranked athletes across all 18 events currently hold a ranking average of 57 (See Table) . Our second best athletes hold an average ranking of 86, and our third best athletes coming home with a average ranking of 104. This situation is actually even worse as I used 150 as the maximum ranking but in events such as pole vault we don’t have one athlete ranked in the top 150.
Now lets look beyond Wayde Luvo Ruswhai who are the next men to help us surpass the Americans as punted by our officials. Our next best ranked male athletes are ranked 5, 6, 9, 13, 17,19, 25,40,42,43,44. So in order to win additional medals we are looking to convert these numbers I repeat 5, 6, 9, 13, 17,19, 25,40,42,43,44 to top 3 positions to advance on the medal table. Our number one athletes currently hold an average IAAF ranking of 57 across 18 events. In order for us to win more medals we have to get 18 athletes to move away from the average current ranking of 57 to a ranking within the top 3.
But yet the message is consistent, we are in the top 3 in the world and we are going after the big guns.
In my opinion largely based on elementary statistics that is complete bollocks.
Aware of the fact that Nations are limited to two athletes, so rankings can only be a indication but I am sure you will get the point.
Is this not where we should be focussing
Now lets look at a few examples from the USA. Only 100m to 800m, and its is clear they have such a deep base of athletes that anyone can step up and become the next medal prospect.
The wearing (or should I call it abuse) of National Sports colours has been under my skin for a very long time. One must just spend some time with our National athletes and see how hard they work to earn the right to wear official National Sports Colours, to realise that the handing out of the very same official clothing to every Tom, dick and Harry is simply not correct.
Establishment of the National Colours BoardA National Colours Board was established. [Section 11 Act 110 of 1998]
Objects of the BoardThe objects of the board are:
(i) to introduce a standard code for the award of national colours;
(ii) to prevent any misuse or abuse of national colours;
(iii) to make provision for the resolution of disputes related to awards of national colours;
(iv) generally, to promote sport in South Africa, through the usage and effective control of the national colours;
(i) to ratify or refuse to ratify the award of national colours to a person nominated therefore;
(ii) to adjudicate in any matter referred to it;
(iii) to promote the image, standing and repute of national colours nationally and internationally;
(iv) to co-operate and liaise closely with persons, bodies, local authorities and Government departments concerned with the advancement of sport on a national and international level;
(v) to advise the SASC on the use of national colours by any person, body or local authority by way of advertising or as a trade mark, or in connection with goods or services, or in any other manner on such terms and conditions as it may see fit;
(vi) to monitor and maintain records of all awards of national colours.
Authority to award national colours and duty of protection
The authority to award national colours to any individual vests with the National Colours Board, acting on recommendation from the national federations concerned.
All national federations have a duty to ensure the prestige of national colours and to protect them against abuse.
Junior National Colours
A category for “junior” colours has been instituted for those codes of sport who can substantiate that in the international rules of their particular discipline, provision is made for e.g. bona-fide junior world championships, junior continental championships, test matches, etc. A maximum age, which differs from sport to sport, is usually prescribed. Junior Protea colours are not intended for “age-group” competitions and such colours shall have the designation “Junior” underneath the prescribed insignia.
The applicable international rules must be lodged with the Commission and should form part of the POLICY document referred to in article 13(4) above. All other eligibility regulations as described herein for senior colours, are also applicable to the award of junior colours.
Although we have all these rules and regulations, even a board appointed that regulates and oversee the protection of National Colours, the situation on the ground is very different.
Administrators, so called coaches and supporters
It has become common practice for team managers of international teams to hand out the very same National Colours that athletes take part in to large tourist parties that follow the teams to international events. However I do concede that it is nice to see a South African support base in the crowd, but over weight tourists wearing the athletes official clothing is simply wrong. During the recent World Athletics Championships in London several athletes were left at home due to the crazy selection criteria applied by ASA. Yet the stands were filled with traveling supporters not on the official, team or administrator list wearing the official SA kit. These tourist actually wore the clothes of athletes that were left behind that qualified for the event.
Non official South African teams
Trends are developing fast where regional, district, or even school teams are selected to compete abroad as part of organised tours. These teams are often made up of small regions, or a few selected schools. To make the situation even worse these teams are generally made up of athletes, that could not make the mainstream provincial or national teams. In most cases these teams are further made up of athletes take can "self pay". Athletes that do not have the financial means to pay for these tours simply miss out. Organisers of these teams then produce "Kit" that closely represent National Colours, and only a trained eye will be able to identify it as non National Colours. These teams often play abroad with inferior athletes, often returning with poor results, but the team is perceived as a South African National team.
National Colours to children 5, 6 and 7 years old.
Mainstream sports such as Rugby, Cricket, Athletics, and many others only award National Colours from the age of 17 years old, the so called Youth age group. However this is not the case with all sporting codes. Tennis, Triathlon, Biathlon, to name only a few award National Colours to children as young as 5,6,and 7. Most responsible parents do not let kids of this age compete, so selecting a National team can never be representative of the best talent in the country. At this age kids develop at different rates and letting compete in National Colours is all wrong.
The 2017 street mile season is about to open, with a series of street miles available across the country. The street mile series usually opens with now famous Tembisa street mile, and 2017 will be no different. After the Tembisa street mile the focus moves to the holiday destinations in the Southern Cape with the hosting of the Eden Street Mile series.
Tembisa Street Mile
. The Tembisa street mile takes place on 29 October 2017, at Moses Molelekwa Arts Centre
Cnr Star Street and Andrew Mapheto drive, adjacent to Makhulong Stadium.
The Tembisa street mile is hosted by Tembisa running club, and on race day a 10km road race and several street miles are available. This event is unique as the countries top runners assemble in the Tembisa township to compete.
Contact Donald Mathipa – Race Director firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bestmed Eden street mile series will then follow:
The Midstream High Performance middle distance running academy is a, High Performance training group that specialises in the coaching of middle to long distance runners. Most of the athletes are learners at Midstream College, but the academy also makes provision for non Midstream college athletes and masters athletes.
In this blog we will post information regarding the Midstream High Performance Running academy, but we will also look at all matter relating to middle and long distance running in the quest to build the sport and to create better runners. The sub youth, youth and junior athletes are the future of our sport, and developing these athletes is our only goal.