Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Team Scotland Bids For Best Overseas Games Performance in 2018, With Athletics and Swimming First To Set Selection Standards

“Selection onto Team Scotland aquatics will be tough and the qualification standards are therefore challenging, reflecting the highly competitive nature of swimming in the Commonwealth." Alan Lynn, National Coach

With still over two years to go until the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) in conjunction with scottishathletics, Scottish Swimming and Scottish Disability Sport (SDS), has announced the selection standards required for nomination to Team Scotland for athletics and swimming. These are in addition to the criteria laid down in the CGS General Selection Policy first published in December 2015 and, which has now also seen the selection period extended, following feedback from a number of member sports.

Athletics and swimming are the first sports to agree the sport specific standards required for consideration, as Team Scotland aims for its most successful ever overseas Games, in the Gold Coast. The standards reflect this aim, with athletes from all sports required to finish in the equivalent of the top six of their event, based on performances at recent Commonwealth Games. This is up from the required top eight finish in Glasgow 2014, where Team Scotland had its best Games ever.

In Glasgow athletics won four medals (1 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze) and swimming won 10 (3 gold, 3 silver, 4 bronze).

Jon Doig, Chief Executive Commonwealth Games Scotland said: “Following the publication of our General Selection Policy in December last year, we are delighted with the continued progress, as we develop sports specific selection standards for each of the 18 sports on the Games programme. Athletics and swimming are the first sports to complete the process and it is fantastic that, with over two years until the Games open in Gold Coast, athletes aspiring to a place on the team and their coaches can target their preparation in the knowledge of exactly what is required.

“Following Team Scotland’s success at Glasgow 2014, we are now aiming to have our most successful ever overseas Games in 2018. As a result the standards reflect this aim, with athletes from all sports required to demonstrate their ability to deliver a top six finish. I am confident that our athletes can rise to this challenge, reflecting the progress being made by our member sports, backed by the excellent support of our key partner sportscotland.” 

The selection period for athletics events opens on 1 January 2017, closing at midnight on 31 October 2017. In a new trials based approach, athletes must achieve the qualification standard while finishing in the top three at the 2017 British Championships, or for para-athletes, at the 2017 IPC World Championships.

Alternatively, athletes must meet the standards on a minimum of two occasions in other officially sanctioned events during the period, except for multi-events, 10,000m, relays and wheelchair events, where only a single qualifying standard is required.

Given the exceptional nature of the marathon, the selection period will run from 1 September 2016 to 31 October 2017, with one standard required to be met on an approved IAAF/IPC course. In exciting news from the Gold Coast it was announced that wheelchair marathon has been included on the para-sports programme for the very first time.

Commenting on the standards, Nigel Holl, Chief Executive of scottishathletics said: “It is excellent that we are able to share the detail of the selection policy for the 2018 Games this early – and as it is a joint policy with Commonwealth Games Scotland, I must recognise and thank them for their support and expertise through the preparation process.

“If you are an athlete aspiring to represent Scotland in 2018, or the coach of an athlete in that situation, this is a ‘must read in detail’ document!

“There are significant changes from how athletes will be selected for Glasgow and, while I am confident those changes reflect the ‘Perform When It Counts’ strategy at scottishathletics, it does mean standards are higher, consistent with all sports representing Scotland at the 2018 Games.

“We’re looking to see athletes achieve qualifying performances on the more significant occasions during the window. A good example of this approach is the British Championships in 2017, which offers athletes the chance to win automatic nomination if they pick up a medal and in so doing post a selection standard.

“That’s really to encourage people to perform at such an event – it will be the trials for the 2017 World Championships in London – and to reward those who perform on the day, under the pressure brought about by competing at that event.

“Ultimately, this selection policy offers Scotland’s elite athletes the chance to represent their country at Gold Coast 2018 through a clear and open process of nomination and selection. The team is likely to be considerably smaller than in Glasgow – but I believe ultimately those who come through the process will have the potential to be even more successful. We should see more medal contenders and finalist in my opinion.”

For swimming, qualifying standards must be achieved at one of a list of sanctioned events scheduled throughout 2017. The list includes the Scottish and British National Championships as well as the 2017 FINA World Championships, World and European Junior Championships and World University Games.

In a new approach to selection, Scottish Swimming will rank all athletes (regardless of event) in priority order, in terms of percentage inside the selection time. The top 16 swimmers will then be guaranteed nomination to Commonwealth Games Scotland for their place on Team Scotland, whilst further swimmers will be added at the discretion of the performance director and national coach. All selections will be subject to proof of form and fitness.

Selection standards for para-sport swimming and diving will follow in the coming months.

Alan Lynn, National Coach for Scottish Swimming said: “Scottish Swimming has an excellent reputation of delivering podium success at the Commonwealth Games and the aim is to continue this success on the Gold Coast.

“Selection onto Team Scotland aquatics will be tough and the qualification standards are therefore challenging, reflecting the highly competitive nature of swimming in the Commonwealth. We expect the swimmers to deliver the performances required for consideration and we look forward to continue supporting and working with athletes and coaches in the run up to the qualification window next year, knowing that the team selected for the Gold Coast in 2018 will be well prepared, eager to race and ready to produce successful outcomes."

The detailed selection standards for athletics and swimming for the 2018 Commonwealth Games are available to download at http://www.cgcs.org.uk/gold-coast-2018/team-selection-policies/

The sport specific selection standards for all 18 sports will be published by 1 December 2016.

The overall Team Scotland revised selection period detailed in the CGS General Selection Policy is 1 January 2017 to 14 February 2018 and the policy can be downloaded at http://www.cgcs.org.uk/gold-coast-2018/team-selection-policies/

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