UK Athletics introduce tough new selection policy
UK ATHLETICS have unveiled a much tougher selection policy which will almost certainly see smaller but more competitive teams chosen for future international championships leading up to London 2012.
UKA's performance director Dave Collins (pictured), tasked with providing medals success in the build-up to the 2012 London Olympics, announced the more robust guidelines.
The new selection procedures point to a much more streamlined team than the normal 60-plus chosen in the past being picked for this summer's World Championships in Osaka.
A UKA document revealed athletes will no longer be guaranteed automatic selection even if achieving the criteria of previous years at the trials meeting in Manchester this July.
Collins said: "In simple terms it means that securing first or second place at the trials with the achievement of the A standard within the qualifying period, may not now result in automatic selection.
"In addition to this, we are looking for athletes to demonstrate genuinely competitive form and fitness."
The new guideline is that Collins and his fellow selectors would wish to see potential team members producing the qualifying standard their event on a regular basis.
Collins said athletes with the clear ability to achieve a podium finish or top-eight placing would be given priority in selection.
But, looking towards the future, he emphasised every effort will be made to groom the next generation of talent.
The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and the five-year build-up to London 2012, and the nation's expectations regarding medals won there, remain his top priority.
That will almost certainly see those with the potential to benefit from the experience of attending a major championships being preferred at the expense of more experienced colleagues this August in Japan.
The plan centres around introducing medal hopefuls and continuing their development at global level in the hope they will fulfil their potential in later World Championships and Olympic Games.
Collins insisted: "We must ensure athletes we are taking to international events have the ability to contribute towards our ultimate goal of podium finishes.
"Smaller teams may result but that will enable us to target our resources more effectively to provide the optimum preparation for our teams.
"The policy is part of a more focused approach to selection with the emphasis on consistency of performance and the enhanced development of our emerging talent."