General view of Khalifa International Stadium in Doha (© Getty Images)
The IAAF Council met in Doha, host city of the 2019 World Athletics Championships, over the past two days to make a range of important decisions on topics including the future of the Diamond League, the Olympic qualification system, RusAF reinstatement status, race walking and competition rules.
IAAF President Sebastian Coe said the Diamond League decisions were critical to the future health of the sport and its ability to expand its fan base and commercial success.
“The IAAF Diamond League is the way millions of sports fans engage with athletics on a top level every year,” Coe said. “It is a strong circuit that is celebrating its 10th year but we can make it even stronger and more relevant to the world our athletes and our fans live in today.”
The 2020 IAAF Diamond League will include the very best 12 meetings, based on the criteria developed in 2018, leading to a single final at the end of the season.
An agreed 24 disciplines (12 male and 12 female) will run across the 12 meetings and the final, with the longest discipline being the 3000m.
Each meeting will be broadcast globally in a faster-paced 90-minute television event which will link the events and the athletes’ points so fans can more readily follow the road to a single final at the end of the season.
“Change is never easy but should, wherever possible, be done from a position of strength which is what we have done,” Coe said. “I want to thank the Working Group, jointly chaired by Jon Ridgeon and Christoph Joho, the Diamond League Board and all the meeting directors for the work they have put in over the last year to take stock of all that we have achieved over the last 10 years and share innovative ideas to evolve this elite circuit of quality events that attract the best athletes which in turn gives our fans a compelling reason to tune in and follow their stars over the next decade and beyond.”
The IAAF Council announced today that there had been no change in status of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF).
The Taskforce chairman Rune Andersen reported to the IAAF Council meeting in Doha that two key issues remain outstanding for reinstatement of RusAF:
- payment of the outstanding costs. RusAF has raised some logistical issues about payment. The IAAF will get these resolved shortly.
- receipt of the analytical data and any samples that the AIU needs from the Moscow lab in order to determine which athletes have a case to answer under the IAAF anti-doping rules. The data is currently being processed and authenticated by WADA, and WADA has committed to getting it to the AIU as a priority.
The Taskforce also took note of the allegation from German television network ARD that some coaches from the old regime are involved again with coaching national team athletes. This runs counter to assurances the Taskforce has previously received from RusAF that it is disassociating itself from the old regime. The Taskforce will be asking RusAF for urgent clarification.
The IAAF Council agreed in principle with the Race Walking Committee’s proposal to change the competition programme for race walking in order to protect and promote the discipline in major international championships and its appeal and attractiveness to new audiences.
Council specifically agreed with the importance of:
- maintaining a 4-medal discipline and gender equity with two men’s and two women’s events at all major international competition
- continuing to prioritise investment in and development of the Race Walking Electronic Control System (i.e, the electronic chip insole technology)
- testing and validating the technology in competition during 2020
- roll out of two of the following events: 10km, 20km, 30km or 35km from 2022.
Competition rule changes
Included in a list of rule changes, the IAAF Council has reinstated the ‘60-second rule’ for athlete attempts in field events.
The following Competition Rules have been amended with immediate effect:
- R113 – To better provide for athletes’ health and safety in longer running and walking races
- R149.3 – To clarify that performances may be valid in race walk even with penalty zone
- R170 – To provide flexibility in developing further new relay concepts
- R180.6 – To change the competing order before the last trials in the horizontal field events
- R180.17 – To go back to the 1 minute time for trials in all field events
- R200.1-5 – To clarify that the two consecutive days of combined events can mean two consecutive 24 hour periods
- R230.7 – Pit lane to be penalty zone
- R250.6 – To remove the mandated use of departure boxes and leave it as an option
Olympic qualification and entry standards
Yesterday the Council approved a new Olympic qualification system for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which will give athletes more opportunities to achieve the entry standards.
The qualification window has been extended by two months for most events. This will start on 1 May 2019 (instead of 1 July 2019), to include more international competitions such as the IAAF Diamond League, and end on 29 June 2020.
The qualification period for the marathon and 50km race walk will close at the end of May 2020 (instead of 29 June), to give the qualified athletes more time to prepare specifically for the Games.
After extensive consultation with key stakeholders, the Council has 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
- Qualify by virtue of his/her IAAF World Ranking position in the selected event at the end of the respective qualification period.
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 timetables were approved for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland, and the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships in Minsk, Belarus.