Updated: July 9, 2016


As part of a new selection strategy, Athletics South Africa (ASA) is expected to announce national squads ahead of the 2017 season.
According to a final draft of the federation’s latest long-term policy on selection processes, ASA confirmed ‘preparation squads’ would be selected annually at the close of each track and field season, and would be reassessed every 12 months.
The first of these groups, including senior, junior and youth divisions, was expected to be announced shortly after next month’s Rio Olympics.
To be included in squads, athletes would need to achieve qualifying criteria for major championships or show potential of achieving required standards. Medallists from previous major championships would also be included.
Those who joined the national squads would be required to sign memorandums of understanding, agreeing to compete for national teams when selected, and make themselves available for media launches and marketing campaigns.
In return, ASA said it would meet with squads annually to discuss the requirements of each athlete, set goals and objectives and strengthen relationships between the federation, provinces, athletes, coaches and, in the case of younger athletes, their parents.
The national body also said it would provide medical testing and injury rehabilitation when required by athletes.
While an incentive scheme would be introduced to motivate individuals, ASA did not confirm whether regular, sustainable financial assistance would be provided for squad members.
Aiming for medals at future editions of the Olympics, starting with Tokyo in 2020, ASA believed its new squad structure and selection policy would assist in driving this objective.
“The selection policy will ensure that our athletes make regular visits to the victory podium, and that our national anthem is sung regularly at major international competitions,” the policy document states.
After conflicting criteria between ASA and Sascoc policies caused widespread confusion during the qualifying campaign for next month’s Rio Olympics, the federation said it would be more clear when releasing criteria in future.
“A preparation strategy is needed of which transparent and defendable selection criteria should be one of the cornerstones of such a preparation strategy,” the federation stated in the policy.
Selection of national teams for major championships next year would focus on medal contenders and athletes with future medal potential.
The federation would also enforce transformation targets in an effort to lift a ban handed down by sports minister Fikile Mbalula which prevented ASA from hosting major international events.
“Once all medal contenders are selected onto the ASA team, the selection process will focus on selecting athletes until the ASA team reflects the correct representation of the SA population.”