The IAAF announced in Moscow 2013 that the qualifying process for the next World Championships in Beijing in 2015 would have a new process. Out would go ‘A’ and ‘B’ standards in favour of one standard and in would come a process to top up the number of athletes attending to 2000. No further details were supplied. Today (November 19, 2014), the IAAF finally published the qualifying standards and the selection processes. The press release is here.
As always there are issues around the relative toughness of the qualifying standards. The table below shows the qualifying standards per the IAAF along with where that would rank the athlete if they had achieved that standard in 2014.

Qualifying Standards

9:44.00633000m S'case8:28.0059
1.9420High Jump2.2826
4.5022Pole Vault5.6529
6.7023Long Jump8.1028
14.2019Triple Jump16.9018
17.7529Shot Put20.4536
1:36:0011320KM Walk1:25:00141
50KM Walk4:06:0090

Obviously there are different goals for different events; the 100m is really open so they can have 4 rounds whereas the 10,000m’s are designed for a straight final. It’s interesting to note the difference between the long jumps and triple jumps. None of which have been of high standard the past few years.

However, the rankings for the TJ are 18 or 19 compared to 23 or 28 for LJ. The long throws are a little difficult to judge and they have gone for round meters so that covers quite a bit of distance (1m in 61m is the equivalent of about 28cm on 17m). The women’s throw standards look easier than those for the men’s. The opposite is true for middle/long distance where the men’s standards look easier than those of the women – only 19 would have qualified for the women’s 10,000m.

The marathon includes a team event and of course the 2014 rankings is littered with Africans, not all of whom could possibly be accommodated by the selection rules. The women’s ranking lists did not go down as far as the qualifying standard. But really you could qualify with a time that ranked you in excess of 500 in the world? Is that really a World Championship standard?

Selection Process
As in previous occasions countries can select up to 3 athletes per event that have the qualifying standard. In addition there are wild card selections for reigning World Champions and Diamond League winners from 2014 (only 1 wild card per country per event allowing a country to have 4 individual representatives) are available irrespective of achieving the qualifying standard. Current Area Champions are deemed to have met the qualifying standard.

The new element is the invite process.  After the selection process by countries by August 10th (12 days before the start of the Championship) individuals will be invited as follows for individual events excluding 5k, 10k, marathon and walks:

” Individual athletes: Following the end of the qualification period, the IAAF shall assess the number of athletes having qualified in accordance with the points above, plus the unqualified athletes. The IAAF shall then invite the athletes with the next best performances in the respective qualification periods in order to reach the established ideal number of athletes by event, respecting the maximum quota by member federation by event. Upon refusals or cancellations, invitations shall be extended to the next eligible athlete at the sole and exclusive discretion of the IAAF.”

Member federation = country.  So no country can have more than 3 athletes plus a wild card per event so the process is not to invite further athletes that have the qualifying standard but to pad fields with second tier athletes.  The desired levels of participants in each event are not known and the press release doesn’t refer to the 2000 total athletes so that’s more opacity to the selection process – just what we all need.  I really can’t understand the thinking behind this.  The ‘B’ standard was sort of doing this process but it wasn’t in the hands of the IAAF to confer invitations on athletes in “desirable” events.  If they want to top up the pool of athletes, why not top it up with the best athletes available and not the best athletes that available from countries that don’t have 3 selected athletes?

Who is making the decision to expand particular events over others and what order are athletes are being invited.  It’s all very much IAAF patronage and you had better not piss us off.  Hammer throwers had better pipe down about demands to have the hammer in the Diamond League or you can be sure that there will be no extras added to your fields. Whoever is taking over at the top of the IAAF, they had better make it clear how they are going about this part of the selection.

GB & NI Qualifiers

The following are defending World Champions are therefore qualify as wild cards:

Christine Ohuruogu (400m)
Mo Farah (5000m and 10000M)

The following are deemed to have the qualifying standard as Area (European) Champions:

James Dasaolu (100m)
Adam Gemili (200m)
Martyn Rooney (400m)
Mo Farah (5000m and 10000m)
Jo Pavey (10000m)
Tiffany Porter (100mH)
Eilidh Child (400mH)
Greg Rutherford (LJ)

In addition Mo Farah qualifies for the marathon via a top 10 finish in a Gold Label marathon (8th in London).

For the relays all four teams qualify due to top 8 finishes at the 2014 IAAF World Relays in The Bahamas:

Men 4×100 5th
Men 4×400 4th
Women 4×100 5th
Women 4×400 7th

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