A retired sports administrator, Elias Gora, on Monday described the point-based system, which changed the process of qualifying athletes for international competitions, as challenging.
Gora, in an interview with our reporter in Lagos, however, expressed the hope that the introduction of the rankings will attract more attention to Diamond League.
It was reported that the system was introduced by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), in partnership with All Athletics, as part of a sweeping reform package in December 2016.
The reform was targeted at changing the way the sports’ governing body operates.
The rankings will be a point-based system in which athletes collect points across different levels of meet throughout the season to determine qualification for premier competitions such as the Olympics and World Championships.
“The thing is, for smaller countries, which do not have the resources, how will they compete, preparing for Diamond and Golden Leagues doesn’t come cheap?
“The fact of the matter is that if these athletes don’t have the backing of their government and they can’t bankroll their participation in order to gather points, it simply means that they can’t participate in the Olympics.
“In my opinion the answer is no; but is it a justifiable reason the IAAF is giving? Yes to an extent, that means they have to participate, and all their efforts will be wasted if they can’t gather enough point.
“To me it’s about striking a balance. What I expect is, if that is what they will use as a yardstick, they may as well say both ways will qualify an athlete for participation in the Olympics.
“Either that you gather points at every Diamond League entry or meet the standard of your national federations, if you qualify either way you are qualified for the Olympics,’’ Gora said.
He pointed out that the rankings may also discourage athletes to compete against each other, leaving fans feeling short-changed and often confused.
Gora, the Chef de Mission at the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games in India, said the IAAF may have introduced the system to reduce the number of participants at Olympics.
“Personally I think they want to reduce the number of participating athlete in the Olympics, the game is getting bigger, and organising Olympics is becoming more expensive.
“I may be wrong but that’s the only explanation that comes to mind,’’ he said.
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