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IAAF increases 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifying period

Monday March 11 2019

Members of Kenya's delegation to the Rio 2016 Olympics enter the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics on August 5, 2016. PHOTO | LEON NEAL | AFP

Members of Kenya's delegation to the Rio 2016 Olympics enter the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics on August 5, 2016. PHOTO | LEON NEAL | AFP 

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has now extended the qualification period for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games by two months to enable more athletes to qualify.

A statement after the IAAF Council in Doha on Monday that approved the new qualification system and entry standards for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in Doha, indicated that the qualifying period starts on May 1, 2019 instead of July 1, 2019.

The Council that also approved the timetables for three World Athletics Series events to be held in 2020, explained that the qualifying time include more international competitions such as the IAAF Diamond League, and will run to June 29, 2020.

“Athletes will have more opportunities to achieve the Olympic entry standards under the new system, which extends the qualification window by two months for most events,” said the statement on IAAF website.

However, the IAAF clarified that the qualification period for the marathon and 50km race walk will close at the end of May, 2020 instead of June 29, 2020 so as to give the qualified athletes more time to prepare specifically for the Games.

After extensive consultation with key stakeholders, the Council also decided to introduce a dual qualification system, combining both the entry standards and the new World Ranking System, to determine which athletes are eligible for Olympic selection in 2020.

Under this new qualification process, an athlete can qualify for the 2020 Olympics in one of two ways; achieve the entry standard within the respective qualification period or qualify by virtue of his/her IAAF World Ranking position in the selected event at the end of the respective qualification period.

The IAAF said that the process is designed to achieve about 50 percent of the target numbers for each event through Entry Standards and the remaining 50 percent through the IAAF World Ranking System.

The IAAF consulted with the Competition, Athletes’ and Coaches’ Commissions prior to this decision and will continue working with the Athletes’ Commission, the Athletes Representatives (ARs) and the Member Federations (MFs) to ensure the qualification system is well understood. Workshops will be scheduled with athletes, ARs and MFs during this year.

The timetables were approved for the IAAF World Indoor Championships to be held in 2020 in Nanjing, China and the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships on March 29, 2020 in Gdynia, Poland.

The IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships is planned May 2-3, 2020, in Minsk, Belarus.

Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani welcomed the IAAF Council to Doha, which will host the IAAF World Athletics Championships from September 27 to October 6 this year on the first session of the two-day Council meeting.

Sheikh Joaan, the president of the Local Organising Committee, emphasised his and the country's commitment to staging a world-class athletics championship in Doha later this year.

He also reiterated the work the Doha 2019 Organising Committee is undertaking to put operational plans in place and prepare for the Asian Athletics Championships in April, which will be a test event for the World Championships.

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