Athletics: Selectors criticised

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The Independent Online
MIKE EDWARDS, the British pole-vaulter, has described Britain's selectors for the World Championships in Stuttgart as 'a joke', writes Tom Chesshyre from Buffalo, New York. Edwards discovered that despite vaulting 40 centimetres higher than Neil Winter, his nearest rival for a place, he must take part in a 'jump-off' with Winter at Crystal Palace on Friday to make the team.

The British Athletics Federation relaxed rules this year to allow athletes to miss the AAA meeting, which took place last week and is normally an essential part of qualification for the World Championships, to compete at the World Student Games instead if they so wished.

Edwards, who has vaulted the four best heights for Britain this year, chose to do so and on Friday he cleared 5.40 metres while Winter, competing on the same day at the AAA, jumped 5m. Edwards, a student in Texas, said: 'The reason I came here to the World Student Games was (with the understanding) that the selectors would not penalise me.'

Edwards's complaints question the position of the Games for British athletes and may explain why a number of Britain's top youngsters chose not to compete. 'Athletes are scared, they are afraid to speak out against the selectors,' he said.

Edwards was outvaulted by Winter at the UK Championships in June but blamed this result on recovering from a transatlantic flight. He now fears the same situation on Friday.

----------------------------------------------------------------- MEDALS TABLE ----------------------------------------------------------------- G S B United States. . . . . . 30 25 20 China. . . . . . . . . . 17 6 5 Canada. . . . . . . . . .12 14 14 Ukraine. . . . . . . . . 11 6 9 Cuba. . . . . . . . . . . 8 4 4 Romania. . . . . . . . . 7 2 3 Germany. . . . . . . . . 6 9 13 Italy. . . . . . . . . . 5 9 12 France. . . . . . . . . . 5 8 11 Hungary. . . . . . . . . 4 4 5 South Korea. . . . . . . 4 3 3 Britain. . . . . . . . . 3 6 4 Poland. . . . . . . . . . 3 0 4 Nigeria. . . . . . . . . 2 3 2 Belarus. . . . . . . . . 2 1 2 Australia. . . . . . . . 2 0 2 Jamaica. . . . . . . . . 1 4 1 Czech Republic . . . . . 1 3 0 Finland. . . . . . . . . 1 0 1 Spain. . . . . . . . . . 1 0 1 Netherlands. . . . . . . 1 0 1 Austria. . . . . . . . . 1 0 1 Ghana. . . . . . . . . . 1 0 0 Kenya. . . . . . . . . . 1 0 0 Morocco. . . . . . . . . 1 0 0 South Africa . . . . . . 1 0 0 Russia . . . . . . . . . 0 3 3 Mexico . . . . . . . . . 0 4 1 Yugoslavia . . . . . . . 0 2 0 Armenia. . . . . . . . . 0 1 0 Brazil . . . . . . . . . 0 1 0 Kazakhstan . . . . . . . 0 1 0 Lithuania. . . . . . . . 0 1 0 Taiwan . . . . . . . . . 0 0 3 Slovakia . . . . . . . . 0 0 1 Bahamas. . . . . . . . . 0 0 1 Ethiopia . . . . . . . . 0 0 1 Greece . . . . . . . . . 0 0 1 Ireland. . . . . . . . . 0 0 1 -----------------------------------------------------------------

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