The BTF website http://www.britishtriathlon.org/about/faqs/age-group-faqs gives the following information:-
What are the Qualifying Criteria?
Each Championship can have slightly different qualifying criteria …...
As a general guide National Federations can enter a maximum of 20 athletes per age-group into an international Championship.
For Championships that have specific qualification races there will be automatic qualification places available from the qualifying events. Registered athletes from each qualification race will gain automatic selection as outlined in the event qualification criteria. The remaining places will come from pre-qualified athletes, discretionary place applications and roll down places.
For Championships that do not have a specific qualification race we will select the first or the best 20 athletes to submit performances that meet the qualifying criteria outlined for that event.
To gain selection an athlete must finish within a performance percentage time of the winner of their Age- Group* (115% for World Championships, 120% for European Championships)
First of all I must declare now more than a passing interest in the results of my experimental findings as I am the cycling co-ordinator for the Shropshire Triathlon. However, whilst I want that race to come out as the most desireable to enter, I won't deliberately fiddle the figures to obtain that outcome as it is too easy for you to double-check my results for yourselves (see data sources at bottom of article).
I must also say that each of the two other events competing against Shropshire for your entry fee for qualifying for a Great Britain Age Group place are both top class events - they must be otherwise the BTF would not have selected them as championship qualifiers. I am therefore not focussing on any factor such as difference in swim, cycle, run or facilities, but basing this blog purely on number crunching of actual results.
I also took the opportunity to put some popular theories to the test.
Theory 2: There are 13 Senior/Vetran Male Age groups and the same number of female Age groups. There are up to 20 places available for each age group so theoretically there are up to 520 places available for Kitzbuhel. In practice the older age groups have fewer competitors taking part, so a number of the places are never taken – so lets say for Theory 2 that only 390 places are really contested and they tend to be in the age groups covering 20 to 50 year olds.
Theory 3: There are three qualifying events and with each Age Group/Sex combination there are four automatic qualification places per event, plus eight rolldown places to be allocated to the next eight fastest competitors (based on percentage of winners time). Therefore theoretically each event should have approx 33% of all the people who qualify so Shropshire 130 places, Deva 130 places and Dambuster 130 places (75 automatic & 55 rolldown each).
Theory 4: As some events have more competitors than others, the majority of the 165 rolldown places should go to the larger events. Shropshire had 325 competitors, Deva had 823 competitors and Dambuster had 775 competitors which means that the rolldown distribution should be Shropshire 16.9%, Deva 42.8% and Dambuster 40.3%, making the number of places available revise to:-
Shropshire 75 automatic + 26 rolldown = 101 total places
(26.6% of all places expected to be taken)
Deva 75 automatic + 66 rolldown = 141 total places
(37.2% of all places expected to be taken)
Dambuster 75 automatic + 62 rolldown = 139 total places
(36.2% of all places expected to be taken)
I checked the results of all three qualification races, plus the list of finishers in Edmonton and found that our Shropshire event pulled it's weight far above any expectations in theories 3 or 4. Ignoring the 13 competitors who pre-qualified, there were 147 others who qualified through one of the three events
Shropshire had 63 automatic qualifiers + 15 rolldown qualifiers = 78 total qualifiers
(53.06% of all qualifiers)
Deva had 42 automatic qualifiers + 2 rolldown qualifiers = 44 total qualifiers
(29.93% of all qualifiers)
Dambuster had 23 automatic qualifiers + 2 rolldown qualifiers = 25 total qualifiers
(17.01% of all qualifiers)
= 147 total qualifiers ( Ignoring 13 pre-qualifiers)
Shropshire had 325 Competitors of whom 78 qualified
(24.00% of all competitors Qualified for the World Champs)
Deva had 823 Competitors of whom 44 qualified
(5.35% of all competitors Qualified for the World Champs)
Dambuster had 775 Competitors of whom 25 qualified
(3.23% of all competitors Qualified for the World Champs)
Total of 1923 Competitors of whom 147 qualified (Ignoring 13 pre-qualifiers)
(7.64% of all competitors Qualified for the World Champs)
In 2014, all three events took place quite close to each other, Shropshire was on 25th May, Deva two weeks later on 8th June and Dambuster a further two weeks later on 21st June. This didn't give a lot of time to recover from any injuries before the next event was due to take place.
Theory 2 is true, but for Edmonton qualification the numbers qualifying and taking place meant that no Age Group had more than 20 people qualifying, so nobody appeared to be disappointed. This is probably due to the cost of flying to Canada and accommodation costs. In the next week or so I will see if the European Championships were “under-subscribed” to the same extent.
Theory 3, with not every Age Group being fully represented in Edmonton, every event had unfilled Automatic places. The rolldown places were mainly in favour of the first qualifying event of the season (in this case Shropshire Triathlon). I don't know if the theory failed because of low numbers of qualifiers, or if it is a flawed theory. My next experiment on the European Championships may shed more light on this theory.
Theory 4 clearly failed because instead of the smallest event (Shropshire Triathlon) having the smallest number of rollover qualifiers, it actually had the greatest number (15 to 2 to 2).
Sources for the above calculations:-
Shropshire results: http://www.stuweb.co.uk/race/AR/
Deva results: http://events.chestertri.org.uk/deva-tri/results
Edmonton results & GB competitors: