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On the road to Oregon (and beyond)

2022 is a unique year in athletics, with the World Championships and Commonwealth Games both taking place. We caught up with Athletics Australia General Manager of High Performance, Andrew Faichney, to ask where Australia’s athletes will focus their attention.

How many athletes does AA hope to select for the World Championships and for the Commonwealth Games?

“This year, 68 spots have been given to the Australian track and field athletes for the Commonwealth Games. Due to the new quota allocation policies, this is smaller than the number we have recently taken to the Commonwealth Games, but given how competitive it will be to be selected, it may be one of our strongest teams yet. We will also be allocated a number of spots for para athletes based on their rankings in the events on the program through a separate process.

Reigning world champion, Kelsey-Lee Barber, will look to defend her javelin title in Eugene. Photo courtesy of Getty Images for World Athletics.

“At this stage we expect to send a team to Eugene that is a similar size to the Tokyo and Doha World Championships teams – approximately 60-64. There are athletes who compete in events that will be really difficult to double up on, and where applicable we are working with athletes and coaches on prioritising between Commonwealth Games and World Championships for their long and short term successes.”

“Regardless of the number, we are looking forward to seeing two very strong teams repeat or better our success in Tokyo. It’s going to be a great year of athletics.”

Andrew Faichney, Athletics Australia General Manager – High Performance

Is it anticipated that many athletes will compete at both events?

“There will be many athletes that compete at both the Eugene World Championships and in Birmingham, however there are events which will prove difficult or impossible to double up on.  As mentioned, our High Performance department is working with athletes and coaches to help them prioritise competitions and to work out if it’s feasible to compete in both.

“Athletes who meet the selection standard and win their respective national title will receive automatic selection to the World Championships team and automatic nomination to Commonwealth Games Australia for selection. However, for the Commonwealth Games the selection standard is only for automatic nominations and our Selection Panel will consider a number of factors including how successful an athlete is likely to be at the Commonwealth Games to make the discretionary nominations.

“We have also reserved six spots within the Commonwealth Games team for developing athletes. These spots will be given to athletes who have not necessarily met the qualifying standards, but have shown much promise for Paris 2024 and beyond.” 

Australia has tremendous depth in the men’s 1500m, to the extent that two separate sets of three athletes would likely be competitive at the World Championships and Commonwealth Games. Who will race each? Photo by Steve Christo for Athletics Australia.

There are also many other international events that athletes will target this year. Can you tell us which ones they are and the importance of each?

“This is certainly a big year, with the World Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games, but we also begin the year with the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships, the World Athletics Indoor Championships, World Athletics Under 20 Championships, the World University Games which are all significant competitions either in preparation for the World Championships and Commonwealth Games in 2022, or on the pathway to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. 

“We also have the World University Cross Country Championships which has greater significance for us this year ahead of the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst next year, and then we finish with the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in November.

“With a few years of very limited international competition opportunity, these representative opportunities will give a number of athletes crucial experience at that international level and we know this will provide a great base leading up to Paris which is now only two and a half years away.”

Andrew FAICHNEY, Athletics Australia General Manager – High Performance

Thanks Andrew, it will be an exciting summer ahead!

Here’s how you can follow the qualifying journey via Inside Athletics.

World Championships selection eligibility essentially mirrors the Olympic qualifying process, with tough qualifying standards and World Athletics Rankings used to fill the quota for each event. We will update a tracking article each fortnight during the domestic season, and weekly as the qualifying period gets close to closing. You can check that out here.

Commonwealth Games selection is based on Australia having a quota of 68 able body athletes. The World Championship qualifying standard and a win at nationals guarantees automatic selection, with all other selections purely at the discretion of selectors, and a minimum 6 spots for developing athletes. While World Rankings may be something that helps inform the selectors discretion, and we’ll add value by also maintaining a Top 5 List (6 for relay events) for the qualifying period, which commenced 1 July 2021. We’ll update that weekly. You can check that out here.

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