"It is a shame. I have earned going to the European. I've been fighting for this all year", Dídac Salas (Barcelona, 1993), the best pole vaulter in Spain at the time, who will be left out of the next European Athletics Championships in Munich (15 to August 21) "by an arbitrary and subjective criterion."
It refers to the scale used by the technical committee of the Spanish Athletics Federation (RFEA) to make the list of summoned, of 93 athletes, the largest in history. Eight have been excluded, including Salas, despite the fact that they were admitted by European Athletics, the European federation, by ranking, that is, the average score for the year, prepared by World Athletics, the international federation.
In addition to the pole vaulter, the sprinter Aauri Bokesa (400 m), Daniel Cisneros (110 m hurdles), Iker Alfonso (400 m hurdles), José Emilio Bellido (triple jump), Iker Arozena (length), Maialen Axpe (pole) and Carlos Rojas (height). The absences mean that Spain will not have a representative in some events, such as the men's and women's pole vault, the men's height or the women's 400m; in other cases, those excluded are the second or third athlete by discipline.
There were two selection criteria to go to the European: having the minimum mark set by the European Athletics or having the ranking of each discipline (the average of the five best international competitions). The RFEA, through its selector, Pepe Peiró, justifies the list based on its own technical criteria: prioritizing the athletes that allow the highest number of medalists and finalists to be reached, and that the maximum number of athletes can advance rounds. For this reason, not only the classification by ranking counted, but also the current state of form. And this system has excluded eight athletes.
“This is how the future is nipped in the bud”, criticized the Navarrese Asier Martínez, bronze in the 100 m hurdle at the Eugene World Cup, who has shown solidarity with his teammates, who have felt discriminated against and seriously harmed, sportingly – in their progression – and economically, as well as despised for the sacrifices made to go to the European Championship. "As a colleague of Iker Alfonso, this reality makes me even more unworthy: they have cut off the natural progression of a 10-year-old who accredits his level every year, a semifinalist in the U-23 European Championships...", lamented the Navarrese.
"I have been the biggest jug of cold water in my athletic life by not seeing my name among those selected after a great preparation effort these months to fulfill the dream of debuting in the senior team," said Carlos Rojas, current and Four-time Spanish high jump champion, who at 2.24 m holds the 21st mark of the year in Europe, when the 26 best go to Munich.
The same has happened to Dídac Salas, current Spanish pole vault champion with 5.55 m. “I am 22nd in the world ranking and the Europeans are 26th, I could get among the 12 finalists, but the Federation prefers not to send anyone,” laments the young man, who has been competing all year with an injury and infiltrating by indication of the RFEA to reach the European. “I have shown a good moment of form, I expected to be classified, I have been recovering, risking my health, and now they leave me out”, denounces Salas, who will also have an economic loss: not being able to compete in the European will not access the help from the RFEA, so you could stop receiving 9,000 euros in 2023. “And on top of that they tell me that we are going to look for the minimum to compete; it is very frustrating, discriminatory and unfair,” says Salas.
“It cannot be that there are athletes who meet the criteria and have a place who are left out of the selection; It can't be now, or ever, because if not, we won't have that security and the smartest thing is to go do something else, ”adds the marcher Diego García Carreras, in support of the colleagues excluded from him.
Given the controversy caused by the criticism of the athletes, the coach, Pepe Peiró, came forward with statements on Radio Marca, in which he defends the selection criteria: "Nothing has been changed in the selection criteria. Only Auri Bokesa had a minimum of 7 athletes who have been left out. In the end you have to make a decision about which athletes to select to find the best team for Spain".