Following the recent IAAF decree setting minimum standards in respect of the 2012 World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea inAugust, comes news that Athletics Ireland have followed those guidelines in most events.
Intriguingly though there is one significant change and that, unusually, in the Marathon.
Taking into account that the fastest time by an Irishman in 2010 was Joe McAlister’s 2:21.05 one finds it difficult to believe that any Irishman will achieve the new mark set by AI 2:16 (IAAF = 2:17) . The women’s mark has been set by the AI at 2:38 as against IAAF’s 2:43
Irish Team Manager, Patsy McGonagle tells Ian O’Riordan in the Irish Times “In all honesty, 2:17 and 2:43 are still pretty poor times for the marathon” McGonagle, also the Manager for the London 2012 Olympics went on : “We also know conditions in Daegu will be very tough for marathon running.
“But what we are trying to prioritise here is qualifying Irish marathon runners for London in 2012. We’re working with the Olympic Council on this and also the Dublin marathon mission. The suggestion is the standards for London will be 2:17 and 2:43 respectively, and that we will also go with that.”
The view of O’Riordan, a much respected commentator, is ‘ that the complete list of standards for London are set for release in April, and will most probably mirror the qualifying standards for the World Championship in Daegu, which take place from August 27th to September 4th.
Not only did the IAAF make the qualifying standards for Daegu more difficult, they also tightened up the qualifying period – which for most events in effect requires athletes to qualify this summer, rather than carrying over qualifying marks from last season, as has been the case for previous World Championships’.