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Athletics: Lord Coe backs strict selection policy for World Championships amid controversy

Lord Coe has made his feelings known on the ongoing World Championships controversy surrounding UK Athletics.

World Athletics president Lord Coe has defended the right of UK Athletics to turn down its invitations to athletes to compete in this month's World Championships. 

The governing body overhauled its qualification system three years ago to try to ensure half of athletes would qualify for major championships via automatic qualification standards and half through the world rankings.
However, more than a dozen British athletes who will receive invites from World Athletics due to their rankings will not be chosen for Budapest after failing to hit the standards set by UKA.
UKA technical director Stephen Maguire defended the policy when the squad, featuring top medal hopes Zharnel Hughes, Keely Hodgkinson and Dina Asher-Smith, was announced last week, and has now received Coe's backing.
"The World Championships, and it has been my instinct for a long time, should be the best of the best," Coe said.
"The Olympic Games you can have universality, you've got that freedom, but the World Championships should be the best of the best. So the size of federation teams, I'm not that focused on.
"For me it's the quality of the athletes that they take and UK Athletics will be taking a very competitive team to Budapest, regardless of the size."
Asked if he could understand why the athletes would be upset to miss out, Coe added: "Well, the sovereignty of selection has to reside with the member federation. I'm never going to criticise a member federation for the policy they take.
"Sometimes that policy is inevitably going to be determined by budgets and sometimes determined by a coaching philosophy. My instinct is that this has got more to do with the coaching philosophy than it actually has budgets.
"We set out 50 per cent by qualification and 50 per cent by the world ranking points, but the primacy for selection has to sit with the member federation."
Coe was no stranger to selection disputes during his own career on the track, winning a second consecutive Olympic gold over 1500 metres in Los Angeles in 1984 after being selected despite defeat in the trials to Peter Elliott.
And he conceded that taking athletes to major championships should not always be about winning medals and based on an entirely "no-compromise" approach.
"Selection policies are a blended process," the 66-year-old added.
"I would always give space for athletes who you have identified as maybe not being real medal chances for at least another four years, but get them into that (championship) environment, get them to understand the pressures.
"You don't throw it away across 20 or 30 people, but it's perfectly reasonable for a coach to pick the three or four people that they really think can learn that crucial aspect.
"Steve Cram is always very interesting on this. He went to Moscow (for the 1980 Olympics) as a 19-year-old kid, learned to live in the village, he understood what it was all about.
"He watched me and (Steve) Ovett further up the track, but it was that experience which had him, within two years, as Commonwealth and European Champion, and a year after that world champion.
"He will tell you that, having been in that environment when he had little or no expectation of winning a medal, but making it through to the final, was of inestimable value.
"So I'm not saying your team needs to be entirely based on a no-compromise approach.
"You do need some scope to be able to use it to give athletes that crucial experience they're not going to get by following a pacemaker in a Diamond League event or staying in a hotel for a couple of nights and then going home. It is a very different experience."
READ MORE: UK Athletics boss comes out in defence of World Championships selection amid legal action threat

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