Fana: At a Speed of Life!

World Athletics Council approves a series of competition changes

Addis Ababa, May 24, 2023 (FBC) – The World Athletics Council has approved a series of competition changes, to be introduced starting at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23.

The official press release stated that there have been growing requests to differentiate the method of lane allocation after the first round between straight and oval events and the Council agreed to the following:

The same will apply to the combined events, where the qualification best in a heptathlon or a decathlon is to be used for seeding.

Relay teams do not always feature the same four athletes and therefore their best times are often not reliably comparable. This makes it difficult to properly seed the teams based on best times alone. Council approved that the relays be seeded based on a combination of two factors (each contributing 50 percent): each team’s qualification best performance and each team’s qualification best performances set by the individual athletes entered for the relay team (or for the 100m/400m). An adjusted qualification best will be considered in other events (e.g. 110mH, 200m, 400mH) if the athlete does not have one in the 100m/400m.

There has been widespread feedback on the significant disadvantage to athletes in the first heat or semifinal, and advantage to athletes in subsequent heats or semifinals, when receiving qualification based on time due to knowing what is required to qualify. The new criteria establishes that, for all events from 1500m and up to 5000m in World Athletics Series competitions, qualification to the next round will be by place only.

The Statement underscored that the Council strongly supports the opportunity of trying to avoid empty lanes or starting places in finals and semifinals at all applicable World Athletics Series competitions when these are due to withdrawals from injury or other justifiable reasons, and approved that an Athlete Replacement Policy may be introduced subject to certain conditions.

It is noted that the Council agreed to remove the ban on submitting for approval personal implements that are already present in the official list, and to allow athletes to submit no more than two personal implements for inclusion in the pool regardless of them being on the list or not.

In the interests of improved efficiency, while creating more excitement and making the races less predictable, Council approved the following:

– Set a later deadline for confirming the relay team (not individual athletes) to allow teams to assess potential injuries occurred during the day. The new deadline will be the evening of the previous day, instead of the morning of the previous day.

– Declare the final team members and running order (for the first or subsequent round) at the latest at the time of reporting for first call, with no need for pre-declaration. Consequently, there will be no need to report any injuries to the Medical Delegate for replacements.

The Competition and Technical Rules will be updated shortly with the full changes approved by the Council and will be available in the Book of Rules section of the World Athletics Library.

In addition, the Council approved recommendations concerning the new Marathon Race Walk Mixed Relay, which will make its debut at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

A new event, judging, will also be introduced. This is a new event that is based on team participation. The priority is to allow every team to finish while ensuring that no team gets an advantage by walking irregularly. Therefore, time penalties will replace disqualifications in case of additional red cards for the team.

The confirmation of competition dates for three World Athletics Series events are also among the recent decisions made by the World Athletics Council.

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