Doha failures: UKA inquiry


By David Martin, Press Association Sport, Doha

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee has vowed to look into selection procedures after admitting many of Britain’s representatives at the World Indoor Championships were “disappointing”.

Britain won four medals with Dwain Chambers in the 60 metres and pentathlete Jessica Ennis claiming gold, Jenny Meadows winning the 800m silver and the men’s 4x400m relay squad coming away with bronze.

However, after only four other athletes made individual finals, Van Commenee held an inquest with staff coaches at Doha airport this morning and will speak individually to athletes in the coming weeks.

“There were no surprises, the ones who did really well were expected to do really well,” he said. "Before the championships I mentioned which medals (we could win) and this is what happened.

“But I also said it was important that other athletes should take the opportunity to rise to the occasion, which they didn’t.”

Van Commenee admitted he was pleased with a handful of the non-medal displays, such as that from Andrew Osagie, who narrowly missed making the 800m final on his international debut.

But he castigated those who missed a great opportunity to enhance their chances of future selection for the British squad.

“That’s why I’m going home with mixed feelings, I’m not happy,” he added. "Osagie used the opportunity, then there were three or four athletes who did approximately what you can expect and the rest were disappointing.

"There were a few athletes who were not competitive so I have to ask the question whether it was right for them to be here and the answer is actually ‘no’.

“I’m not going to name names but this means if this is the conclusion, then we have to look into selection procedures.”

Van Commenee will now turn his attention to the summer’s European Championships in Barcelona, and suggested he will impose tougher selection standards for future indoor championships, just as he has done for the those outdoors.

“I don’t have to do that for Barcelona because they’re tough enough,” he added. "For Barcelona we use the same selection criteria as for the World Championships.

"We’ve done that in the light of the preparations for the Olympic Games in London. I think, given the results here,

that in the next two years we need to take the same approach for every event.

“I haven’t done that here and that’s what’s going to happen in the next two years indoors because it is pointless to take athletes who are not good enough.”

Despite his critical overview, Van Commenee insisted it is not all gloom and doom and highlighted the fact the medal count target was achieved.

He said: "Let’s put things in perspective, we have the four medals that were won with excellent performances. Normally we’ve been between one and five so there’s nothing to worry about.

“But the potentials didn’t use it here. I have to speak with that group in the middle that might have done it and haven’t delivered and see why these things happened and what to do in the next few months.”

Van Commenee also sent out an early message that he has no intention of picking a big team for the 2012 Olympics just because they are being staged on home soil.

“I’m into medals, I’m not into numbers,” he said.