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World Athletics suspends Olympic qualification period until December

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• Announces furlough scheme for headquarters
World Athletics announced yesterday that the qualification period for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has been suspended effective from April 6, 2020 until December 1 following consultation with its Athletes’ Commission, Area Presidents and Council.

It said during this period, results achieved at any competition would not be considered for Tokyo 2020 entry standards or world rankings, the publication of which would also be suspended.

It added: “Results will 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.

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“Subject to the global situation returning to normal, the qualification period will resume on December 1, 2020 and continue to the new qualification deadline in 2021 set by the International Olympic Committee. The total qualification period, which started in 2019, will 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 who believe suspending Olympic qualification during this period gives more certainty for athlete planning and preparation and 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.”

Athletes who have already met the entry standard since the start of the qualification period in 2019 remain qualified and will be eligible for selection by their respective member federations and National Olympic Committees, together with the other athletes who will qualify within the extended qualification period.

The world athletics ruling body also announced its decision to furlough temporarily 50 per cent of its headquarters staff effective yesterday in order to secure jobs for the long term. All staff on furlough will continue to receive their full salary.

The decision, which was approved by the Executive Board on Monday, it said, has been made due to the temporary postponement of World Athletics Series events and many development activities around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the strict self-isolation regulations in Monaco and France, where the majority of World Athletics’ HQ staff are based.

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