Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Nominations Policy Announced

06 September 2016

Northern Irish athletes will have a 9-month period in which to achieve selection for the next Commonwealth Games. The Gold Coast Games take place in Australia from 4-15 April 2018 and the qualification window opens 1 January 2017 and expires at midnight (BST) on 30th September 2017 for all events except the Decathlon, Heptathlon and Marathons that have an additional four months starting 1 September 2016 in which to produce eligible performances.

For the first time the Gold Coast policy was created following an open consultation with coaches, athletes and interested parties that ran between May and July 2016.

Tom Crick, Director of Coaching and Athlete Development, said, “The selection process for the Commonwealth Games has several unique features dictated to us by the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council. Of particular relevance is the maximum team size, which makes it necessary to compare athletes across events when selecting the team. The rationale for the open consultation process was to agree on a fair way of achieving this goal. If you compare the final policy and the notes from the consultation process, you will see that the vast majority of the recommendations from coaches, athletes and other parties were implemented.”

The overarching performance goal for the Gold Coast is for Northern Ireland to achieve as many top eight finishes as possible. The consideration standards have been set with this goal in mind and so differ from standards set for other major championships. An athlete who achieves these standards is entitled to be considered for nomination in the first round of selections. However, it is important to note that the achievement of these standards is no guarantee of nomination, because of the possibility of more athletes achieving the standards than there are places on the team. Similarly, athletes who do not achieve the standards may be nominated if spaces are still available after the first round of selections.

“Because of the limits on team size, ranking in the Commonwealth will be a key factor in decisions,” said Crick. “This was one of the key things that was agreed by everyone who attended the consultation.”

In addition to performances, there are several other conditions to nomination. First and foremost, all athletes must compete in the 2017 NI & Ulster Senior Championships. In addition, they must also sign the Athletics NI Commonwealth Games Athlete Agreement, which sets out specific requirements with respect to the use of social media, holding camp attendance and anti-doping education.

“Based on feedback from athletes and coaches who have attended previous games, people believe it is important that we set clear standards with respect to professionalism and behaviour,” said Tom Crick. “No Northern Irish athlete has finished in the top eight since 2002 and we want to change that in 2018. Excellent preparation is key to achieving this goal and the Athlete Agreement is central to fostering a professional atmosphere and strong team spirit.”

The Commonwealth Games Nomination Policy and Consideration Standards are available on the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games page.

Any athlete or coach who has questions regarding the policy should contact Athlete Development Lead Tom Reynolds.

Athletics NI will be posting a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Commonwealth Games page to clarify any issues surrounding the nominations policy over the coming weeks.