BY ROMULUS HUTA
THE national athletics governing body will impose strict measures on its athlete selections for the 2019 Pacific Games and other future international events.
President of Athletic Solomons (AS) James Iroga said the imposing of the strict qualifying standards is a new strategy to ensure Solomon Islands is represented competitively at the regional level and other international events.
Iroga said gone are the days where the national athletics federation is always lenient in its athlete selections for representation in international events.
“Solomon Islands will host the 2023 Pacific Games in Honiara and in order for the country to be competitive against other countries; we must step up by putting in strict measures.
“I have already worked on the qualification standards that athletes should reach before they are qualified to participate in the Pacific Games next year in Samoa,” Iroga stressed.
Iroga emphasized that the new qualification standards will be based on the timing of the bronze medal winners of last year’s Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu.
“We must not set our own standards; we need to set the standard on most recent games.
“The qualification standards are the bench mark not only for next year 2019, but also bench mark for 2023 Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands.
“The immediate focus now is the 2019 Pacific Games but it will be reviewed after that as we prepare for the 2023 event,” Iroga explained.
Athletic Solomons organised two big yearly events last month. They were the national school championship and the national athletics championship.
Iroga stated that the recent two events were held successfully with exceptional results attained by high school students.
“Some athletes have already reached or just about to reach the qualifying standards.
“With the reviving of our National Inter-Secondary School athletic sport carnival, the road ahead regarding the preparation of our athletes for 2023 looks very promising indeed.
“Some young athletes have managed to beat some national athletes already.
“It looks as more than half of the contingent for 2019 will be from secondary Schools.
“What we need to do now is proper training and more competitions,” explained Iroga.
See below is the new qualification standard for sprint and middle distance events based on Bronze medal winners at the Vanuatu Pacific Mini Games in 2017.