Super-1 Athletics ©

(A radical, performance rewarded competition programme.)

 & Pathway to the Olympic Games

(Passion, Performance, Achievement)

Scenario

Great Britain has a huge pool of untapped athletics talent in schools and clubs across the UK and a considerable number of established and newly developing talents capable of achieving world class standards beyond the present level.

However, the current structure of the sport, imposed by an unelected and bureaucratic National Governing Body (UKA, Ltd) formed and funded by a government quango, UK Sport, in 1998, has failed to produce the level of athletics success at global championships that it was funded to achieve, (not one medal increase at an Olympics or World Championship since before funding began) despite the undoubted potential of so many existing British international and aspiring international athletes.

A Performance Rewarded, Competition Programme would provide the incentives to fully motivate and drive the aspirations of existing and potential new British international athletes and improve the depth of performance in every event at County, Area and National level.

Driving increasing achievement through this new, exciting and radically unique performance rewarded competition programme, is the best possible way forward to revitalise athletics in the UK.

Every competitive T&F athlete in the UK is a member of a club. This includes all of our top internationals and current and past Olympic and World Championship performers.

Every British medallist at every Olympic Games, World Championships, Commonwealth Games and European Championships is a product initially of the British club system.

The clubs are the breeding ground and grass roots for all athletics success in the UK. They provide the environment, the coaches, the competition structure and the officials, all of whom are volunteers. And all major clubs throughout the UK have their own dedicated track and field venue (athletics track)

Competition is the essence of sport:

The Olympic moto: “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (Faster,Higher,Stronger)

What ultimately drives and sustains the athlete along the pathway to the realisation of their maximum potential is: financial reward.

To achieve maximum potential requires an athlete’s total commitment; the ability to train and compete progressively at the optimum level for their chosen event/s over a number of years following known best practice, (i.e., what the best are already doing and the desire to compete with the best.)

British athletes have never before been offered the possibility of this unique and exciting, performance rewarded programme to compete against the ‘rest of the best’ throughout the UK in their specific event on a regular basis throughout the season.

All athletic performances are objectively measurable and comparable:

Super-1 Athletics competition programme can produce a massive resurgence in athletics standards in this country and a driving force for increased numbers to reach world class, increase public and media interest and help provide Great Britain with it’s best ever Olympic Teams in 2020 and 2024.

Super-1 Athletics will drive the ambitions and retention of the U17’s most of whom are lost to the sport by the time they reach 20 due to the attraction of alternative leisure and social activities and the necessity of earning a living through full time work.

Super-1 Athletics success will allow far more talented young athletes the opportunity to continue or take up further education or to work part time and remain fully committed to the pursuit of their athletic dreams and realisation of their potential.

Super-1 Athletics will be highly attractive to many 15 and 16 year olds who will see that by remaining committed and continuing to train hard they too can reap the rewards offered for increasing performance levels to their potential after they are 17.

In motivating and inspiring many existing 15 and 16 year old club members there will be a natural surge for more young people to take up athletics as a meaningful and potentially financially rewarding sport, instead of becoming, disinterested, disillusioned and dropping out or back because they gain little or nothing in the way of support or reward except for those very few that currently manage to reach the highest elite level.

 

‘Super-1 Athletics’ ©

“Pathway to the Olympic Games ”

Competition summary:

  1. Event specific competitions would  be staged every two weeks between May and September to cover all Olympic events in track and field for seniors (over 20 years of age) men and women and for under 20’s (17-20) men and women, which are the World governing body, (IAAF) recognised competition ages. Decathlon and Heptathlon would be held four times over four separate weekends,
  2. Entry standards for “Super-1 Athletics: Pathway to the Olympics” will be set according to the current national rankings for event/gender, senior male and female and U20 male and female
  3. Top 8 performances in each event: £1000, £800, £600, £400, £300, £200, £150, £100
  4. Top ranked performance bonuses: New British Record: dependent upon event and world all time ranking: from £25,000 – £100,000 (all insured) – Other performances relevant to top 10 All Time GB: From £1000-£20,000 
  1. Under 20’s Prize and bonus system would be reduced relative to the senior awards but any U20 achieving a senior bonus level in their event would receive the same as the senior list.
  2. To qualify for place prize and bonuses an athlete must compete in at least 4 separate competitions in Super -1 Athletics throughout the season.
  3. The performance bonus is payable from any international meeting providing the athlete has competed in at least 4 separate Super-1 Athletics meetings.
  4. A cumulative and incremental performance related financial reward system to attract, motivate and incentivise talented athletes has been designed for all senior and U20 events based on the ‘British All Time Performance Rankings’ www.topsinathletics.info and current international ranking standards.
  5. The U20 age group (17-20) will receive a, pro-rata, reduced reward system based on their age group’s British All Time Rankings and World Rankings, but where they exceed performance into the senior level they would receive the same.Monies (paid out only at the end of the season) will be awarded to the top 8 in each event throughout the year in addition to the highly attractive and substantial performance standards award list which will begin modestly but reach a high level for new British records relative to the world all time lists, e.g., Seb Coe’s 800mts record, 1:41.73, set in 1981, is still the third fastest of all time in the world and Jonathan Edwards, triple jump record, 18.29mts set in 1995 is still the world record. Accordingly, those records have the highest bonus performance pay out of £50,000 each.
  6. Any athlete who competes in at least 4 Super-1 Athletics competion dates and who subsequently wins an individual event medal at the Olympic Games or World Championships (senior) will be awarded £100,000 Gold, £50,000 Silver and £25,000 Bronze.
  7. All financial rewards will be computed and held in a legal secure, independent., Super-1 Athletics account and paid out to all athletes at the conclusion of the season’s series, subject to final ratification of each performance and full compliance with the competition regulations.

NB Full financial breakdown of organisation costs and performance rewards will will be fully published in the company accounts.

11. The 22 different events in the Olympic programme will be spread between 7-8 stadium venues around the country e.g: 100mts/ long Jump/ javelin in Portsmouth. 1500mts /discus/ pole vault, in London. 400h / 5000mts / high jump, in Edinburgh, 200mts / 800mts / shot, in Manchester ……….and so on, with all events rotating every two weeks between all of the selected venues. The meetings would be scheduled to take place between 12 noon and 4pm on Sundays.

  1. Each event group will be seeded according to known performance and current ranking (as already happens with the long established BMC middle distance races) All track races, will be grouped accordingly: A,B,C,D,E,F. Those seeded in the top group, A, will be the best ranked athletes and so on. Where an athlete records a performance better than another in a higher seeded group that performance will rank as such in the overall results and be awarded the relevant top 8 position prize money.
  2. All track events will be recorded electronically together with photo finish equipment.

Each of the 7-8 selected athletics venues across the UK will cater for just 2-3 specific events, senior and U20 male and female Each event, e.g., 100mts is divided into 4 separate groups, senior male and female and U20 male and female. Each group would comprise of most, if not all, of the top athletes for that event in the country and could be as many as 50 in each (Minimum entry standard will be the 50th best ranking nationally in each event)

  1. A televised Super-1 Athletics Final could take place over two days in London at the end of each season for the top 8 senior athletes, male and female, in the UK in each of the 21 Olympic events.
  2. The Association of Great Britain Athletics Clubs (ABAC) has the infrastructure and expertise available in the clubs throughout the UK. Clubs will be invited to propose their track and field venue and their officials to stage any one or more of the 70-80 meetings throughout the UK between May-September. In effect, however, no one club would stage more than 4 separate meetings as the programme calendar is designed to cover as much of the country as possible.
  3. Each host club would receive a fixed fee (£3000) to cover track hire, officials’ expenses. This will help provide support services for their club: (coaching, minor equipment, competition travel) for their own young athletes. A club selected to host 1- 4 meetings throughout the season would receive the accumulated fees plus spectator gate charge and competitor entry charge. (£3 U20, £5 seniors.) So the hosting club can benefit considerably.
  4. A club “league” competition works throughout the whole season over all events, as athletes accumulate points for their rank positions (1-10 based on performance rank not actual place in the top seeded group) after each weekend. Therefore, despite Super-1 Athletics being for individual athletes  from any club, the combined results of each club’s athletes, throughout the country and throughout the season, creates an exciting club competion. At the end of the season the top 3 clubs (their senior men and women combined) will receive, 1st £50,000, 2nd £30,000, 3rd £15,000 towards the clubs continued development.  
  5. It is important to note that all athletics clubs in the UK survive mainly because of voluntary coaches and officials help, donations and modest subscriptions. Super-1 Athletics will provide each host club with a valuable income towards their own young athletes’ development and coaching support.
  6. Photo finish and electronic timing equipment plus wind gauges (for sprints and long and triple jump) will be supplied for all track events.
  7. All results from each venue around the country will be fed immediately upon completion of each bi-weekly meeting to a central data base, administered by the independent statistics provider: Umbra Athletics Ltd., www.topsinathletics.info and linked in with the ‘Power of 10’ website, www.thepowerof10.info to provide a complete and accessible results and rankings system for sponsors, media and fans, on the Super-1 Athletics web site (to be constructed) nb: Umbra Athletics Ltd., also provide statistical material for the British Olympic Association.
  8. Defined entry standards in each event will be raised appropriately each year according to the level of improvement on the previous year.
  9. Overall cost: Year 1: c£3m. Year 2: c£3-4m, Year 4: c£4-5m

Nb: (Annual admin and salary cost of UKA and EA = c£10m!)

© John Bicourt

Clearly, the principle of Super-1 Athletics is regular and best competition over all events. However, as we know, the best in each event usually only come together in the National Championships. But in order to drive higher standards they need to meet far more regularly, every 2-3 weeks, event specific with 3-4 events at 6-8 locations spread around the country….obviously, it would impossible to hold all events at one venue.

The IAAF should promote this proposal to all of its Member Federations. This of course does not commit the IAAF  or any Federation to act upon it, merely an independent idea that you may wish to circulate to all IAAF Members that can potentially help attract more into athletics and their existing athletics, develop better.

As in the proposal, financial reward is what makes this proposal work. Not just for those athletes at the top end who will want to compete with the best in their event, and because of the potential rewards, but also as a driving force for all aspiring athletes and  for their volunteer run clubs that can benefit financially by hosting 1-3 meetings throughout the season.

Financing it is the major issue, of course. Most countries athletics federations do not have the financial resources to put this on but there may be opportunities for sponsors to be involved given what local and national coverage and reputation by association, they can gain.

As far as government funding is concerned, most would see this as an ideal opportunity to attract more and retain more young people in driving the potential of the sport but “prize money” is not something they would likely provide, however, a non-government sponsor, can, and  given that nothing is paid out until the end of the season and only for achievements by the top 10 in every event, monies could be paid as ‘subventions’ for training and living grants, much as our government sports body provides here? (a system which has so far proved totally ineffective as evidenced by the overall drop in standards, drop in elite numbers and the failure to win more medals at global events than even before funding began.

However, Super-1 Athletics is entirely different in that it is purely achievement rewarded, open to all and not based on ‘potential’ as funding currently is.  

The financial incentives and rewards I have outlined are specifically for the UK but can obviously be determined at a level more relevant/realistic to each Member Federation’s current numbers and standards in each event.

I hope this can progress because with the current state of the sport and also the fact there are now so many alternative sports and pastimes available to young people, we need to provide something far more attractive and meaningful (best competition and performance rewarded for high achievement) not just for a small selected elite but for all those, including existing and potential new coaches, who can see the huge advantages in committing themselves and their time to the sport.

John Bicourt March 2019