Johannesburg - South African athletes would
have to meet stringent qualifying standards to be selected for the 2016 Rio
Olympic Games, the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC)
announced here on Wednesday.
SASCOC chief executive Tubby Reddy revealed
on Wednesday that none of the federations with the exception of men’s and
women’s football teams would gain selection through continental qualification.
Although football has been spared the
arduous passage through global events they have been set the target of winning
their respective African Under-23 Championships.
“Football is the only sport where
continental qualification is considered because that is the only qualification
process that is being allowed between FIFA and the IOC,” Reddy said.
“The team must finish first at the Under-23
CAF Championships qualification and the team must be ranked first on the
Reddy added that SASCOC had not deviated
from the International Federations and International Olympic Committee policies
and qualification system other than not considering the continental slots.
South African track and field athletes have
already entered the qualifying window as they will have to meet the standard
between May 1, 2015 and July 11, 2016.
They would, however, have to prove their
level of readiness at the 2016 Senior Athletics Championships which would be
considered the Olympic trials.
The nation’s swimmers will have a steep
hill to climb to gain selection for the Olympics as they would have to attain
the Fina A-qualifying time at next year’s 2015 South African National
Reddy said athletes that could not make the
national trials for whatever reason would be thrown a lifeline and would be
treated on a case-by-case basis.
“We are saying that they should be there
participating, however, if there is any other reason (why and athlete cannot
make it) we will have to engage with the national federation and look at the
best possible solution,” Reddy said.
“But it is not cast in stone but based on the
SASCOC president Gideon Sam said the
federations have all agreed to the selection criteria which specified that
there would be no continental qualification route.
“The presidents of all the federations have
all signed on the dotted line confirming the criteria for the cycle ending in
2016,” Sam said.