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No injustice in sending athletes to Olympics: Athletics Association

Athletics Association has denied the allegations of potential unfairness in awarding opportunities for athletes to participate in the Olympics.

Ameera Osmanagic
23 May 2024, MVT 16:59
[File] 25th Asian Athletics Association Congress -- Photo
Ameera Osmanagic
23 May 2024, MVT 16:59

Athletics Association of Maldives, in a statement made to local media outlets today, has said that the association has never been unjust in providing Olympics opportunities for its athletes date.

The statement came in response to a comment made by Maldivian long distance running athlete Shamha Ahmed’s coach Nasrulla Ahmed (Nasru), who said that if Maldives is given a spot at the upcoming Summer Olympics under a tripartite offer to participate in athletics, that spot should be given to Shamha based on her performance and records.

The statement by the association detailed that the association sends athletes to the Olympics based on the races they finish within a certain period, and with certain timings.

However, Nasru speaking with Mihaaru News said that there is no local athlete who deserves the spot more than Shamha nor any athlete that has matched her recent achievements.

"If we look at that [records and results], there is no athlete who can compete with Shamha," he said.

"I don't know what the Athletics Association will do. But as someone in sports, I believe that if a spot is available without the need to qualify [for the Olympics], it should go to the athlete with the best performance, result and timing," he went on to say in the interview.

"Which ever way [you] look at this, I don't see a way how Shamha should be disqualified in favour of someone else. If it's decided any other way, it would be an injustice," Nasru also added.

Screenshotting these comments by Nasru, the association sent a message in the local press social media group and assured that it has never been unjust about sending its athletes to the Olympics, and said that if an athlete is to be sent to the Olympics marathon, that opportunity can only be given if the athlete shares their marathon timings prior to a certain date.

The minimum timing for a female marathoner for the Olympics is 2 hours, 48 minutes and 11 seconds, detailed the association. For a male athlete, it has to be less than 2 hours, 19 minutes and 39 seconds, the association said.

However, these timings are must faster than what local athletes have achieved so far. While Shamha currently holds the marathon record for Maldives in the female category, her timings are 3 hours, 2 minutes and 41 seconds. The male record is held by Yoosuf Ibrahim, who is also training under Nasru’s guidance. Yoosuf’s timing is 2 hours, 29 minutes and 39 seconds.

Maldives gets one slot at the Olympics in athletics and it is offered to either a 100 metre, 800 metre, or marathon event athlete.

Athletics Association of Maldives issued its Olympics Qualifying regulations on 8th April, and it detailed that 100 metre, 800 metre, and half marathon event timings of the past three months need to be shared with the association prior to 17th April, and that if 100 metre and 800 metre results are better than marathon results, the opportunity would not be extended to the marathon event athletes.

Additionally, it also said that the 100 metre sprint and mid distance 800 meter event athlete who provides the best results between 1st January and 24th May would get an opportunity at the Olympics games.

The time trial for selections will be held this coming Saturday.

However, Nasru said that the associations unfairly differentiates long distance athletes in providing the best opportunities and timings.

Other athletes have also raised similar concerns previously. Even then, the association maintained that it has never been unjust towards its athletes.

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