Track and field’s world governing body, World Athletics, on Tuesday announced that the qualification period for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games had been suspended effective from Monday.
World Athletics said the suspension, which would be until Nov. 30, followed consultations with its Athletes’ Commission, Area Presidents and Council.
“During this period, results achieved at any competition will not be considered for Tokyo 2020 entry standards or world rankings, the publication of which will also be suspended,’’ the body stated in a report.
It however noted that results would continue to be recorded for statistical purposes, including for world records, subject to the applicable conditions.
“But they will not be used to establish an athlete’s qualification status.’’
World Athletics said further that the suspension would no longer be in place by Dec. 1.
“Subject to the global situation returning to normal, the qualification period will resume on Dec. 1 and continue to the new qualification deadline in 2021 set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“This will be based on the approved qualification period table.’’
It added that the total qualification period, which started in 2019, would be four months longer than it was originally.
Commenting on the decision, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “I am grateful for the detailed work and feedback from our Athletes’ Commission and Council.
“They believe that suspending Olympic qualification during this period gives more certainty for athlete planning and preparation.
“They also believe it is the best way to address fairness in what is expected to be the uneven delivery of competition opportunities across the globe for athletes, given the challenges of international travel and government border restrictions.”
World Athletics pointed out that athletes who have already met the entry standard since the start of the qualification period in 2019 remain qualified.
“They will be eligible for selection by their respective Member Federations and National Olympic Committees (NOCs), together with the other athletes who will qualify within the extended qualification period.
“The end of the Olympic qualification periods are May 31 in 2021 (for 50km race walk and marathon) and June 29 in 2021 for all other events.’’
The world athletics body further stated that qualification starting dates for entry standards and world rankings remain unchanged with many athletes already qualified by meeting the entry standards during 2019.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the qualification period is now from Dec. 1 to May 31 or June 29 in 2021, depending on the event.
This means the eligible qualification period is longer than the original period by an additional four months, and it has taken into account the eight-month suspension period.