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The integrity of women’s sport is really important here, and we can not have a generation of young girls thinking there is not a future for them in the sport says Sebastian Coe

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe has stated that the global athletics governing body will look at their rules concerning the inclusion of transgender athletes in female events at a Council meeting toward the end of this year.

This statement comes days after the International Swimming Federation (FINA), swimming’s governing body, voted to stop trans female athletes from competing in women’s elite races if they have gone through any part of the gender transformation process after puberty or age 12. FINA also stated that they will establish an open category in some events for swimmers whose gender identity is different than their birth sex.

(Photo - Caster Semenya is a woman and a man. The South African champ has no womb or ovaries and her testosterone levels are more than three times higher than those of a normal female, according to reports.)

Transgender rights have become a major talking point in sports in an effort to balance inclusivity with ensuring they do not have an unfair advantage arising from the residual effects of puberty.

The debate intensified this year after University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas became the first transgender NCAA champion in history, winning the women’s 500-yard freestyle.

In an interview with BBC Sport, Coe, a two-time Olympic 800m champion, outlined his support for the recent measures taken by FINA.

“The integrity of women’s sport is really, really important here, and we can’t have a generation of young girls thinking there is not a future for them in the sport. So we have a responsibility…maintaining the primacy and the integrity of female competition is absolutely vital, and that’s why we were at the forefront of tabling those regulations that allow as close as you can get to a level playing field,” says Coe.

Coe on FINA’s ruling:

“This is as it should be. We have always believed that biology trumps gender and we will continue to review our regulations in line with this. We will follow the science.”

FINA’s new guideline means that Thomas, who has expressed a desire to compete for Team U.S.A. at the Paris Olympics, is now blocked from participating in the women’s category at the Games. There have been talks to establish an “open” category at world championships for athletes whose gender identity is different than their assigned gender at birth.

The current World Athletics guideline from 2018 states that transgender women can compete in the women’s category if they reduce their testosterone levels to below five nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before competing.

“We continue to study, research and contribute to the growing body of evidence that testosterone is a key determinant in performance, and have scheduled a discussion on our regulations with our council at the end of the year,” says Coe.

International sports federations may set their own policies but will be subject to World Athletics and IOC rules when it comes to sending athletes to the World Championships and Olympic Games.

(06/22/2022) Views: 84 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Tokyo Olympian Tachlowini Gabriyesos will lead a six-member Athlete Refugee Team (ART) to next month's World Athletics Championships Oregon22.

Tachlowini Gabriyesos, 24, made waves one year ago when he finished 16th in the Olympic marathon in Sapporo, beating some of the world's best marathoners.

“It makes me so proud to once again wear the Athlete Refugee Team vest at the World Championships,” said Gabriyesos, a native of Eritrea who made his Athlete Refugee Team debut at the 2019 World Championships in Doha where he competed in the 5000m.

“I don’t represent a country, but millions of people without one. I want to be a role model for refugee youth around the world and wish to show the world once again that refugees can be strong, that we are hungry for success and that we deserve equal opportunities.”

Gabriyesos fled conflict and bloodshed in Eritrea at age 12 and journeyed through Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt before crossing the Sinai desert on foot to Israel where he's been living since 2010. He began running soon after and eventually found that he was best suited for athletics' longest running event.

At the Hahula Galilee Marathon in Israel in March 2021, Gabriyesos clocked 2:10:55 to become the first refugee athlete to meet an Olympic qualifying standard. He later served as the co-flag bearer for the Olympic Refugee Team at Tokyo’s Opening Ceremonies. After his solid performance in Sapporo's hot and muggy conditions, Gabriyesos improved to 2:10:09 at the Seville Marathon in February.

After its involvement with the inaugural Refugee Olympic Team that competed at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, World Athletics established the Athlete Refugee Team in 2017 to provide refugees with high level training and competitive opportunities.

It is the world’s only year-round team composed solely of refugee athletes. The team has been represented at almost every World Championship event since, in addition to a growing number of continental and regional events, most recently the European 10,000m Cup in May and the African Championships earlier this month.

"On this World Refugee Day, our Athlete Refugee Team brings a powerful and inspirational message of hope and solidarity to the world, at a time when it's truly needed," said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe. "They're also showing, through their rapid development and world class performances, that they do belong among the world's best athletes."

Representing a community of 89 million

When the refugee team was introduced at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, that squad of 10 – six competing in athletics – represented 65 million people around the world who had been forcibly displaced from their homes.

That figure soared to more than 82 million by 2020 and, propelled by conflict, the climate crisis and skyrocketing inequality, has grown to 89.3 million at the end of 2021. The six athletes who are set to compete in Eugene next month will represent a community that collectively would be the 17th most populous country on the planet.

Similarly, the number of athletes involved in the World Athletics Athlete Refugee Team project continues to grow. More than 40 athletes are now involved in the programme, training at their respective bases in Kenya, Israel, France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Canada and Portugal.

Gabriyesos will be joined by Jamal Abdalmajid Eisa-Mohammed, a native of Sudan, who will make his second consecutive World Championships appearance in the 5000m. The 28-year-old improved his lifetime best over the distance to 13:42.98 at the Olympic Games last year.

Dorian Keletela, 23, will be making his third ART appearance after outings at the 2021 European Indoor Championships and last summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo. In the Japanese capital, he clocked 10.33 to win his 100m heat in the preliminary round, smashing his previous career best by 0.13. He improved to 10.27 last year and at the moment has a 10.47 season's best.

Fouad Idbafdil, a refugee from Morocco who is based in France, rounds out the men's squad. The 34-year-old steeplechase specialist improved his lifetime best to 8:37.94 nine days ago. He too competed on the ART squad in Doha in 2019.

The women’s team is led by Anjelina Nadai Lohalith, who will bring plenty of experience to the start line of the 1500m. The 27-year-old native of South Sudan, who is based at the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation training camp in Ngong, Kenya, will be making her second World Championships appearance after her debut in 2017.

Nadai is a two-time Olympian and most recently competed at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March and the African Championships in Mauritius 11 days ago. She set her 4:31.65 lifetime best in Tokyo last year.

She'll be joined by Atalena Napule Gaspore, another South Sudanese athlete from the Loroupe camp, who will be making her Athlete Refugee Team debut competing in the 800m.

Athlete refugee team for WCH Oregon22

Women 800m: Atalena Napule Gaspore 1500m: Anjelina Nadai Lohalith

Men 100m: Dorian Keletela 5000m: Jamal Abdalmajid Eisa-Mohammed marathon: Tachlowini Gabriyesos 3000m steeplechase: Fouad Idbafdil

(06/20/2022) Views: 105 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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World Athletics Championships Oregon22

World Athletics Championships Oregon22

The World Athletics Championships are coming to the United States for the first time ever. WCH Oregon22 will be an unmissable global experience, and it will be taking place in the United States for the very first time. The best track and field athletes in the world will come together in a celebration of diversity, human potential, and athletic achievement....

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Sebastian Coe runs first few steps at Budapest’s new National Athletics Centre

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe ran the first metres on the track at the new National Athletics Centre of Hungary, which will be the venue for the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 in just over a year.

Coe, who is in Budapest for the FINA World Championships, met with key members of the local organising committee for the 2023 World Athletics Championships, including CEO Péter Deutsch and Hungarian Athletics Association President Miklós Gyulai. During his time in the Hungarian capital, Coe was shown around the National Athletics Centre by 2017 world 110m hurdles bronze medallist Balázs Baji.

Coe also joined 10 participants from the Hungarian Kids’ Athletics Programme and ran with them on the field of play in the new stadium, which is still under construction. The Hungarian Kids’ Athletics Programme aims to inspire more and more children to choose athletics as their first sport, given it is the foundation of all sports. As a result of the programme, the number of young athletes aged six to 12 has already increased by 30% in Hungary in 2021. The programme is part of World Athletics’ Kids’ Athletics initiative.

“I am impressed with the organisation,” said Coe. “Of course there is still a lot to do, but everything is going to plan. I saw a very focused team and I’m sure we’ll see a fantastic World Championships here in Budapest in 2023. Even with the ongoing construction, the stadium already looks impressive. It was great to meet some of the budding young talent from the Hungarian Kids’ Athletics Programme, and it was a pleasure to join them in their debut at the stadium. I hope they all get an opportunity to compete here in the years to come.”

Deutsch added: “Just over a year from now, in August 2023, the World Athletics Championships – the biggest sporting event in Hungary's history – will begin. Our goal with the World Championships is to strengthen and promote the Hungarian athletics and to get as many children as possible to choose this fantastic sport.”

(06/18/2022) Views: 79 ⚡AMP
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World Athletics maintains ban against Russian and Belarusian athletes at World Championships

World Athletics has announced that Russian and Belarusian athletes will not be participating in July’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Ore. Barring an unexpected end to the war in Ukraine, the sanctions first imposed in early March will continue.

When asked about the implications for Russian athletes at the event, World Athletics referred to their March 1st statement announcing the ban. Sebastian Coe, president of WA, commented:

“There’s not a single sports federation out there that naturally wants to exclude teams or individuals. That’s not something that we came into the sport for,” Coe said. “But I think we have to recognize that this is such a game-changer. And, yes, it will set precedents.”

The 2022 World Championships will be the largest international sporting event following the 2021 Olympic Games.

The Russian Track Federation has been banned from competing as a team or a host until 2023 due to doping scandals, but individual athletes had a chance at competing once vetted. Since 2015, Russian athletes have had to apply and compete within track and field events as ANA (Authorized Neutral Athletes). As of March, the 33 athletes who were granted ANA status can no longer compete on the world stage. This means they will not be heading to Eugene next month.

(06/03/2022) Views: 107 ⚡AMP
by Keeley Milne
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World Athletics Championships Oregon22

World Athletics Championships Oregon22

The World Athletics Championships are coming to the United States for the first time ever. WCH Oregon22 will be an unmissable global experience, and it will be taking place in the United States for the very first time. The best track and field athletes in the world will come together in a celebration of diversity, human potential, and athletic achievement....

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Ukraine Fund launches to support athletes affected by conflict

World Athletics, together with the International Athletics Foundation (IAF) and the Members of the Diamond League Association, has today launched a Ukraine Fund to support professional athletes affected by the conflict in their home country.

The fund’s purpose is to ensure that elite Ukrainian athletes and their key support personnel can continue to train, qualify and participate in World Championship events following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Two groups will be eligible for funding: individual athletes (Group One) and key athlete support personnel and immediate family members (Group Two).

Group One includes athletes who are affiliated to the Ukrainian Athletic Association and have qualified, or have a credible chance to qualify, to compete at any upcoming World Athletics Championships until fund closure. Group Two includes those acting as a designated coach or team leader to athletes in Group One, as well as parents, spouses and children living together with athletes in Group One.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe commented: “It’s only right that the athletics community provides whatever support we can to the athletes of Ukraine, who have been put in this terrible situation and need our assistance to continue training and competing. I know several of our Member Federations in Europe are already hosting groups of Ukrainian athletes in training camps and I’m grateful for their humanitarian approach to these tragic circumstances. This fund will provide further support for Ukrainian athletes to enable them to have some stability and security as they prepare to represent their country while the war continues.”

Commenting from Ukraine, President of the Ukrainian Athletic Association YevheniiPronin said: “In dark times you can clearly see bright people. World Athletics, Diamond League, IAF and all the national federations that offered us their help - this is the standard of unity and support!

"Thousands of victims, millions of refugees, destroyed infrastructure, including sports infrastructure, terrified our hearts, but we believe that the worst is over.

"Every day I thank from my heart the entire world community for opening the doors of their homes for our people, for everyone who helps our athletes and their families and for World Athletics, for creating this fund for our athletes and our sport.

"The entire team of the federation is safe and is working to ensure that the athletes of our country and their families are safe and together with you we will save our favorite sport and make it stronger. Thank you from all Ukraine."

The fund will provide financial assistance to the following:

For Group One:

• Enrolment, subsistence and accommodation, at training camps / temporary housing;

• Travel and accommodation to compete at qualifying events for World Championships;

• Travel and accommodation to compete at World Athletics Championships if not otherwise provided;

• Training material and equipment.

For Group Two:

• Coach attendance to training and competition;

• Travel and accommodation to accompany Group One athletes at qualifying events for World Championships;

• Travel and accommodation to accompany Group One athletes at World Athletics Championships.

The fund opens today with a current budget of US$190,000, created with contributions from the IAF, Diamond League members and World Athletics. The Diamond League Association has previously donated US$30,000 directly to the Ukrainian Athletic Association and many of the individual meeting organizers will provide additional travel and accommodation support to athletes wanting to compete in their meetings.

It is expected that up to 100 Ukrainian athletes may require some financial support this year.

The fund can receive additional contributions at any time until fund closure which is set for December 31, 2023. Funding per beneficiary will be allocated on a needs-basis.

Potential beneficiaries can register for consideration by emailing UKRFund@worldathletics.org

Other athletics organizations who would like to contribute to the fund, should also contact UKRFund@worldathletics.org

World Athletics will coordinate with the International Olympic Committee’s Solidarity Fund for the Ukrainian Olympic community, through senior vice-president Sergey Bubka, to prevent any duplication of efforts.

(04/08/2022) Views: 162 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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The future of women's sport is very fragile, says Sebastian Coe

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said the state of women's sports is "very fragile" and sports federations need to get it right when writing rules for transgender female athletes.

Coe's comments come after University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas became the first transgender NCAA champion in Division I history by winning the women's 500-yard freestyle in Atlanta last week.

"The integrity of women's sport – if we don't get this right – and, actually, the future of women's sport, is very fragile," Coe was quoted as saying in British paper The Times on Monday.

"These are sensitive issues, they are societal issues – they go way, way beyond sport. I don't have the luxury to get into endless discussions or the school of moral philosophy."

Thomas competed on the men's team for three years before transitioning and moving to the women's team and setting multiple program records.

Last month, USA Swimming unveiled a new policy to allow transgender athletes to swim in elite events by setting out criteria that aim to mitigate any unfair advantages.

The rules include testing to ensure testosterone is below a certain level – five nanomoles per litre continuously for at least 36 months - in transgender athletes who wish to compete against cisgender female swimmers.

World Athletics requires transgender athletes to have low testosterone levels for at least 12 months before competition.

"We are asking for a greater length of (time) before competition because the residual impact of transitioning like that is more profound," Coe said.

"There is no question that testosterone is the key determinant in performance."

Transgender rights have long been a controversial and politically divisive issue in the United States from sports to serving in the military, and even what bathrooms people are allowed to use.

Coe said he understands the sensitive nature of the issue and said he wants to focus on the science.

Sebastian Coe "It's really difficult to keep the emotion out of this and subjectivity, so we do have to really stick as closely as we can to the science –and that's what we've always tried to do when it's been uncomfortable," he said.

"You can't be oblivious to public sentiment ... but science is important. If I wasn't satisfied with the science that we have and the experts that we have used and the in-house teams that have been working on this for a long time ... if I wasn't comfortable about that, this would be a very different landscape."

(03/22/2022) Views: 168 ⚡AMP
by Rory Carroll
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Sebatian Coe says sports must fight to keep Russia banned

Sports federations have set precedents by banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from competition following the invasion of Ukraine and they must remain firm to keep them in place, Sebastian Coe said Monday.

Coe is a two-time Olympic champion runner from Britain who is now the president of World Athletics, the governing body of track and field. He spoke four days before the start of the world indoor championships. Both Russians and Belarusians have been excluded from that event, which will be held in Serbia.

“There’s not a single sports federation out there that naturally wants to exclude teams or individuals. That’s not something that we came into the sport for,” Coe said during a video conference call. “But I think we have to recognize that this is such a game changer. And, yes, it will set precedents.”

Athletes and teams from Russia and Belarus have been kicked out of dozens of sports since Russian forces invaded Ukraine last month, with some soldiers entering via Belarus. The biggest events to be immediately impacted by the decision to ban Russians and Belarusians include the upcoming track championships, the figure skating world championships and soccer.

The bans from soccer, which include the Russian national team from World Cup qualifying and Russian club Spartak Moscow from the Europa League competition, have been challenged by the Football Union of Russia. The first appeal rulings are expected this week from the Court of Arbitration for Sport — the highest sports court in the world.

“We absolutely accept that this will set precedents and those precedents will have to be faced individually and sequentially and they will be with us for years,” Coe said. “We haven’t made this easy on ourselves but it is still the right decision.

“You cannot have aggressor nations, where you have so altered the landscape for the integrity of competition being untouched, while the actions of their governments have so influenced the integrity of sport elsewhere.”

Russia’s opponent in the World Cup qualifying playoffs, Poland, has said it won’t play against the country on March 24. The two next possible opponents, the Czech Republic and Sweden, have said the same.

Track and field had previously been the hardest on Russians following the country’s state-sponsored doping scandal dating back to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Russians now have to be individually vetted in order to compete in international track events. The Russian track federation has been banned since 2015.

“I don’t have a problem with (banning Russians) because that’s what we’ve done in our sport. I don’t see why that should be different in any other sport if you’re making that judgement on the integrity of the sport,” Coe said. “Goodness me, in football, you’ve already seen teams that decided they’re not going to play in playoff rounds.

“The impact is across the board. So they are going to need to remain really firm on this and do exactly what we’ve done.”

(03/19/2022) Views: 197 ⚡AMP
by Chris Lehourites
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World Athletics bans athletes from Russia and Belarus

World Athletics will impose sanctions against the member federations of Russia and Belarus as a consequence of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian and Belarusian athletes will be excluded from all World Athletics events for the foreseeable future, effective immediately.

This sanction means that all Russian or Belarusian athletes who have received ANA (Authorized Neutral Athlete) status will have their accreditation withdrawn and entries denied, as will any coaches, personnel and officials.

The suspension will include the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon, the 2022 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, and the 2022 World Athletics Race Walking Championships in Muscat, Oman, which are set to begin on March 4.

World Athletics has also agreed to consider the suspension of the Belarus Federation, which will be a topic of discussion at the scheduled WA Council meeting on March 10.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said:

“The world is horrified by what Russia has done, aided and abetted by Belarus. World leaders sought to avoid this invasion through diplomatic means but to no avail given Russia’s unswerving intention to invade Ukraine. The unprecedented sanctions that are being imposed on Russia and Belarus by countries and industries all over the world appear to be the only peaceful way to disrupt and disable Russia’s current intentions and restore peace.”

The Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) has been suspended from competing in World Athletics events since 2015 due to multiple doping violations. They are currently not eligible to host World Athletics events or send teams to international championships until 2023.

Two weeks ago, on Feb. 17, World Athletics and its Doping Control Review Board (DRB) announced it had approved the applications of 33 Russian athletes to compete in international competition as neutral athletes (ANA) this year. Now, the 33 Russian athletes who received ANA status for 2022 are excluded from World Athletics Series events.

(03/01/2022) Views: 214 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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World Athletics president Sebastian Coe, philosophically opposed to boycotts

Sebastian Coe said he is “philosophically opposed” to boycotts and prefers dialogue as a means to work through issues after the Diamond League announced the addition of a second event in China next year.

The Diamond League said on Tuesday Shenzhen would host the 2022 season’s second meet in China on August 6th, after the July 30th event in Shanghai.

The United States, Britain and Australia are among countries that have announced a diplomatic boycott of the February 4th-20th Beijing Winter Games over China’s human rights record, a stand that China dismissed as “political posturing”.

Sport in China is also under the microscope after tennis player Peng Shuai alleged that a former Chinese vice premier had sexually assaulted her in the past. The Women’s Tennis Association said it would suspend tournaments in China due to concerns over her safety.

Peng, who was absent from public view from nearly three weeks, said on Sunday that she had never accused anyone of sexually assaulting her.

Speaking after the decision to add another event in China, Coe said: “We are concerned for the welfare of all athletes.

“I believe all athletes should be free to voice their concerns and sports should never flinch from making those points.

“But it is still better to have open dialogue and sporting relationships than pulling up the drawbridge.”

Briton Coe won 1,500m gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics when 66 countries, led by the United States, boycotted the event, and again four years later in Los Angeles when Russia, the Eastern bloc and its allies responded in kind.

“I’m philosophically opposed to sporting boycotts,” said Coe. “I experienced them and they tend not to achieve what they set out to achieve.”

(12/31/2021) Views: 260 ⚡AMP
by The Irish Times
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Sebastian Coe states stand on vaccination of athletes

World Athletics will not force athletes to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

But the world track and field governing body’s President Seb Coe maintains that it would be prudent for the athletes to get the jab “for the greater good.”

In the last few days, world sport has felt the effects of the latest Omicron variant of the coronavirus with several English Premier League matches suspended to curb the spread of the virus.

On Friday, agencies reported that Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was forced to cancel a pre-match press conference after returning an inconclusive coronavirus test result.

AFP reported that Guardiola must now await the result of a follow-up PCR test before finding out if he will be able to lead the English champions for Sunday’s trip to Newcastle.

Also, the Confederation of African Football on Thursday announced that supporters attending matches at next month’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon will be required to show proof of vaccination and present a negative Covid-19 test result.

In a Zoom interview with Nation Sport on Friday, Coe said World Athletics was studying the situation but would not force athletes to get the vaccinations.

Coe said he had just held discussions with Stephane Bermont, World Athletics’ director of health and science department, about the challenges athletics will be confronted with in a few months.

“We don’t understand yet as much as we need to about Omicron, and it will be a few weeks before we understand, through the data, the full impact,” Coe responded to a Nation Sport question.

“But we have to assume that for the moment, and for the next few weeks, there are going to be some difficulties. My personal view — and I’m not really speaking on behalf of World Athletics, but I guess it’s inevitable that I do — is that I’m always aware about personal liberties,” Coe explained regarding vaccination.

“I’m not comfortable about telling athletes they have to be vaccinated — there may be good reasons why they choose not to be, and there may be health reasons why they choose not to be…

“But all I’d say, if they have the ability or potential to be vaccinated, I think it’s a sensible approach (to be vaccinated).

Coe noted that while he’s not forcing athletes to be vaccinated, individual countries are going to be more demanding about everybody, and vaccination may be inevitable.

“My advice to athletes is if you have the ability to get the vaccine, it is probably a sensible thing to do, but I’m not yet at that point where I need to be mandating or telling athletes that they have to do that.”

Coe noted that the vaccination debate is more than an athletics issue, stressing that communities around the sport must also be kept safe.

“We don’t want (to host) events that are super spreaders. We have to be mindful of those communities that we join, and which host our events because we don’t want to leave them with rising numbers – it’s not just the welfare of athletes but also the welfare of communities that host our events.”

(12/21/2021) Views: 269 ⚡AMP
by Elias Makori
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Sebastian Coe optimistic of great year ahead despite Covid-19 threats

World Athletics (WA) President Seb Coe is confident the global athletics governing body is well equipped and informed to continue organising top level competitions while tackling the challenges posed by Covid-19.

Eugene, in Oregon State, will host the 2022 World Championships at the brand new Hayward Field Stadium in the heart of the University of Oregon from July 15 to 28.

“It’s absolutely vital that whenever we have a World Championships, we do everything we possibly can to have our seats absolutely full,” Lord Coe said.

“And that’s not just the work of the LOC (Local Organising Committee). That’s also the work we need to do at World Athletics to make sure that we have all the right initiatives in place to help sell tickets.”

He acknowledged the fact that with more insights on Covid-19 and with sports having developed protocols to guard against the spread of the coronavirus at competitions, it will be easier to navigate through the virus.

But he conceded that with the unpredictable nature of the virus, nothing could be cast in stone on the programme.

“We know a great deal more about the management of Covid-19, both medically and within our own stadiums.

“Our health and science teams have probably led the world in making sure that we stage events that are safe and secure to protect the athletes and crucially to protect those communities that are hosting our events.

 

“But the world is an uncertain place at the moment. We will have all the protocols and processes in place, but we can’t at this moment guarantee our borders remaining open if the pandemic suddenly takes a turn for the worse.

“We don’t have enough data to know if this variant (omicron) is more transmittable but not causing more illness… all that, I’m afraid, we have to wait for scientists and governments to decide on the direction forward.

“But we will do everything we possibly can to ensure that the stadium in Oregon is full and that people are able to travel, but we can’t obviously open borders that are closed by governments. That remains a challenge to us.”

The WA President said next year - and the next four seasons - will be crucial to the sport, and is excited that USA has finally come round to organising a global competition as they hold a special place as the world’s biggest sports market.

The last major global athletics events hosted by USA were the 2014 World Junior (under-20) Championships in Eugene and 1992 World Cross Country Championships in Boston along with the 2016 World Indoor Championships in Portland.

“We have four major athletics events and also the European Championships (next year).

“We have a global championship every year for the next four years and that will mean working very closely with all our organizing committees.

“The United States is very important for us, to help grow the sport. It’s the largest sports market in the world, and it’s also an opportunity for your athletes to have more competitive outlets and to grow their profile in a very important market."

“But the world is an uncertain place at the moment. We will have all the protocols and processes in place, but we can’t at this moment guarantee our borders remaining open if the pandemic suddenly takes a turn for the worse.

“We don’t have enough data to know if this variant (omicron) is more transmittable but not causing more illness… all that, I’m afraid, we have to wait for scientists and governments to decide on the direction forward.

“But we will do everything we possibly can to ensure that the stadium in Oregon is full and that people are able to travel, but we can’t obviously open borders that are closed by governments. That remains a challenge to us.”

The WA President said next year - and the next four seasons - will be crucial to the sport, and is excited that USA has finally come round to organising a global competition as they hold a special place as the world’s biggest sports market.

The last major global athletics events hosted by USA were the 2014 World Junior (under-20) Championships in Eugene and 1992 World Cross Country Championships in Boston along with the 2016 World Indoor Championships in Portland.

“We have four major athletics events and also the European Championships (next year).

“We have a global championship every year for the next four years and that will mean working very closely with all our organizing committees.

“The United States is very important for us, to help grow the sport. It’s the largest sports market in the world, and it’s also an opportunity for your athletes to have more competitive outlets and to grow their profile in a very important market."

“We also have Cali (Colombia) Under-20 World Championships, hot on the heels of Oregon 2022, and the following year we are back to the World Under-20 Championships in Lima, Peru."

“This is a great opportunity to make gains not just in US, but in South America too.”

Coe also highlighted the successes of athletics in 2021 saying the sport remains in really good shape, highlighted by both athletes’ performances and commercial success at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“We leave 2021 as a sport in really good shape. We needed to stay focused in order to deliver the championships that we did, and create a platform for the athletes, which we did, and the Tokyo Olympic Games particularly for African athletes was a really important platform… and, my goodness!, they grabbed that platform in a really, really good way!”

“We also maintained, at the same time, all our competitions, and we maintained the work streams that we feel are really important in growing our sport.”

The former Olympic champion and middle distance world record holder noted that WA also revamped their competition calendar and drove further interest in the second tier Continental Tour one-day meeting series.

“I’m very grateful to the Kenyan federation particularly for their help in extending that footprint in Africa for us,” he noted, appreciating the success of the September 18 Kip Keino Classic at Kasarani which was the final stop of the 2021 WA Continental Tour circuit.

“Our strategic partnerships – and these were really important: In broadcast, we extended broadcast arrangements with NBC and, crucially for Africa, with the European Broadcast Union, not just with our broadcast arrangements with Europe, but also extends into Africa and that’s very, very important.

“Both contracts have been secured until 2029 with a healthy uplift.”

Coe mentioned the importance of the World Athletics World Plan, describing it as an important roadmap which will create the pathway for the next years.

“It sets up 19 objectives and 67 different actions. It builds on the four-year strategic plan, whose four pillars are: More people; More participation; More partnership; Broadening fan base.

"The top lines from that will help us, particularly given the global focus driven by Covid-19 around healthy communities is driving kids’ athletics, not only as a way of encouraging more young people into our sport, but also as a way of helping in that drive to make our communities fitter and healthier – as athletics is the most accessible to communities globally.”

(12/15/2021) Views: 290 ⚡AMP
by Elias Makori
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Former World Athletics president Lamine Diack has died

The former head of global athletics Lamine Diack, who presided over the sport from 1999 to 2015 but was later convicted for corruption, has died aged 88, his family told AFP.

The Senegalese was head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), now renamed World Athletics, the world governing body of track and field, the cornerstone of Olympic sport.

Diack, who was also a powerful figure at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), was found guilty of corruption by a French court in 2020 for covering up Russian doping cases in exchange for millions of dollars of bribes.

He was sentenced to four years in prison, of which two were suspended, and fined 500,000 euros ($560,000).

The trial in Paris heard that the money was paid in return for "full protection", to allow Russian athletes who should have been banned to escape punishment.

Twenty-three Russian athletes had their doping offences hushed up so they could compete at the 2012 London Olympics and 2013 world championships in Moscow.

Because of his age, Diack, a former long jumper, football coach and then businessman and politician who was decorated in the Kremlin in late 2011, was spared jail.

His son Papa Massata Diack, a former marketing executive for the IAAF, was tried in absentia because Senegal refused to extradite him. He was sentenced to five years in prison, fined one million euros and banned from all sport for 10 years.

- Olympic figure -

Lamine Diack, a member of the IOC from 1999 to 2013 and then an honorary member from 2014-15, was embroiled in another corruption affair linked to the awarding of the 2016 Rio Olympics and the Tokyo Olympics, that were postponed because of the pandemic but took place this year.

Despite not being jailed over the Russian corruption, he was held in France because of his indictment in the case involving suspected Olympic vote-buying. His passport had been confiscated.

But a judge soon lifted the ban on Diack leaving France, provided he paid a bond and that he continued to respond to summonses.

Senegalese Premier League side Jaraaf de Dakar, where Diack was club president, said it had sold part of its headquarters property to pay the bail.

Diack was replaced by Britain's Sebastian Coe in August 2015 as head of world athletics. The disgraced Senegalese had resigned from the IOC in the same year.

Coe had been one of Diack's vice-presidents at the then-IAAF between 2011 and 2014.

Born in Dakar on June 7, 1933, Diack started his sporting career as a long jumper, winning the French athletics championships title in 1958. A knee injury prevented him from competing in the 1960 Olympics, however.

He was also a footballer and was technical director of Senegal's national team from 1966 to 1969.

Diack also became head of Senegal's Olympic Committee, mayor of Dakar, a lawmaker and was head of the West African country's national water company before becoming the first non-European to take over as head of the IAAF following the sudden death of its previous president Primo Nebiolo.

The African power-broker said he had played a key role in globalising athletics and his time at the top certainly coincided with a huge boom in its revenues.

Diack was in charge as the sport grew and developed beyond its European and North American core.

He oversaw its move from amateur to professional status, ensured complete equality in events and prize money for men and women, and established international competition circuits for athletes in all the disciplines.

But the Senegalese had previous brushes with scandal before the most recent charges.

Diack and Issa Hayatou, acting FIFA president for four months in wake of the 2015 corruption case against Sepp Blatter, both received warnings from the IOC in 2011 over cash payments they received from International Sport and Leisure (ISL), a marketing company whose collapse caused a major scandal for football's governing body.

(12/04/2021) Views: 391 ⚡AMP
by AFP
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Olympic champs Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica and Karsten Warholm of Norway have been named the World Athletes of the Year at the World Athletics Awards 2021

Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica and Karsten Warholm of Norway have been named the World Athletes of the Year at the World Athletics Awards 2021, a ceremony held virtually on Wednesday (1).

Thompson-Herah produced one of the finest sprint seasons in history this year, retaining her Olympic 100m and 200m titles in Tokyo and adding a third gold medal in the 4x100m relay. On top of her Olympic triple, she also clocked world-leading times of 10.54 and 21.53 over 100m and 200m respectively, moving to second on the world all-time lists and coming within touching distance of the long-standing world records.

“I just take it year by year,” said Thompson-Herah. “I went very close to the world record so you know, anything is possible. No spikes hanging up any time soon!

“The World Championships in Oregon is most definitely my next big target,” she added. “It is close to home, I hope friends and family can come out and watch. I hope I get some crowd as well. That couldn’t happen in Tokyo but hopefully in Eugene I can get my friends and family to come and cheer me on.”

Warholm uncorked one of the most remarkable performances in athletics history when he stormed to gold in the 400m hurdles at the Tokyo Olympics. Having already broken the world record with 46.70 in Oslo in the lead-up to the Games, Warholm exceeded all expectations in the Japanese capital to claim gold in a stunning world record of 45.94. In a race of incredible depth, the top three athletes finished inside the pre-2021 world record.

“I’m so happy for this,” said Warholm. “First when I saw the time (in Tokyo), I was like, ‘This must be a mistake!’ Because I didn’t see that one coming. And I didn’t see the victory coming before crossing the finish line.

“It was a very intense race, I knew the American and the Brazilian and all the other guys were really chasing me. I always go out hard and I never know what is going on behind me. I was just fighting all the way to the finish line. When I realised 45.94 was the reality, I was thinking: ‘This is not too bad. I’ll take it!’"

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe congratulated all of tonight’s winners and finalists on their extraordinary achievements this year.

"We have this year celebrated some jaw-dropping performances in Tokyo, at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi and through our one-day meeting circuits – the Wanda Diamond League and the Continental Tour. So we’re delighted to recognise some of our stars at tonight’s awards.

"As a sport, we are in an incredibly strong position. 2021 has been an excellent year. We cemented our position as the number 1 Olympic sport coming out of Tokyo, we have the most God given talented athletes on the planet and our sport is the most accessible of all sports. Thank you to all our athletes around the world. I am looking forward to watching what you can all do in 2022."

The other award winners were:

Female Rising Star

Athing Mu

The US teenager was undefeated at 800m all year, winning Olympic gold at the distance following a long but successful collegiate season. She broke the senior US 800m record with her triumph in Tokyo and then improved it to 1:55.04 just a few weeks later. She also excelled at 400m, clocking a North American U20 record of 49.57 for the distance.

“It means the world to know that my support goes beyond friends and families and extends worldwide,” said Mu. “This award shows all young girls that your dreams can, indeed, come true."

Male Rising Star

Erriyon Knighton

Throughout 2021 the 17-year-old took down several marks that had belonged to sprint legend Usain Bolt. Knighton first set world U18 bests of 20.11 and 20.04 over 200m, but his rapid rise continued and he broke Bolt’s world U20 record for the distance with 19.88 and 19.84. He went on to finish fourth in the Olympic final with 19.93.

“I’m really thankful for this award,” said Knighton. “One of my most memorable moments of this year was making it to the Olympic final in Tokyo and finishing fourth at the age of 17.”

Member Federations Award

Federacion Costarricense de Atletismo (Costa Rica)

In recognition for their outstanding training, competition and development programme roll-out over the past 12 months, for their consultative work on the World Athletics Kids’ Athletics programme, and for successfully staging a host of international events over the past year.

Inspiration Award

Mutaz Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi

The shared high jump victory between Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi became one of the biggest talking points of the Olympic Games – not only for everything it represented in their own individual careers, having both battled serious injuries since the last Games, but mainly for the act of respect and sportsmanship between two friends.

“It is just crazy if I think about this story,” said Tamberi. “Thank you very much for this trophy.

“I now call Mutaz like five times a week because I need to speak with him. I feel that now we are not just friends, we are really like blood brothers.”

Barshim added: “I hope to inspire more people to love our sport and maybe share a gold one day!”

President’s Award

Peter Diamond, Executive Vice President of NBC Olympic programming

“Athletics owes Peter a massive debt of gratitude,” said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe. “Peter has worked alongside us for effectively 40 years and has been a constant source of great advice and wise counsel, and occasional humour that has softened the edges of any particular situation. And he has made athletics a lot better.”

Coaching Achievement Award

Bobby Kersee

The US coach has guided the careers of many legendary athletes over the years, but this year two of his charges made history. Allyson Felix became the most decorated female track and field Olympian in history after winning her 10th and 11th Olympic gold medals in Tokyo, while training partner Sydney McLaughlin broke two world records in the 400m hurdles and claimed Olympic gold in the discipline.

Woman of the Year Award

Anju Bobby George

The former international long jump star from India is still actively involved in the sport. In 2016 she opened a training academy for young girls, which has already helped to produce a world U20 medallist. A constant voice for gender equality in her role as Senior Vice President of the Indian Athletics Federation, Bobby George also mentors schoolgirls for future leadership positions within the sport.

Jean-Pierre Durand World Athletics Photograph of the Year

Ryan Pierse’s photograph of the women’s high jump qualifying at the Tokyo Olympic Games

This year’s award is dedicated to the memory of Jean-Pierre Durand, one of the sport’s most prolific photographers and photo chief for a number of World Athletics Series events, who died in October.

“This winning image was taken on one of the morning sessions in Tokyo and it was a hot one,” said Pierse, who is from Australia. “I wanted to illustrate the heat and how it was affecting the athletes. It is a picture that I worked on for a while, and it all came together. I am really happy with it.

“I think it’s incredibly fitting that this award is named in memory of Jean-Pierre Durand,” added Pierse. “I had the pleasure of working alongside him, most recently at the Tokyo Olympics.”

(12/01/2021) Views: 329 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Jamaican Usain Bolt thinks he could have won 100m gold at Tokyo Olympics

Sprint legend Usain Bolt said he could have emerged from retirement to win a fourth straight Olympic 100m title in Tokyo this year, insisting the winning time was within his reach.

Bolt, 35, told AFP that it was frustrating to watch the delayed 2020 Games from his home in Jamaica as his male countrymen flopped and Italy's Lamont Jacobs claimed a shock victory.

"I really missed it. I was like, I wish I was there," he said in an interview at the Dubai offices of his sponsor PepsiCo on Sunday.

"Because for me, I live for those moments. So it was hard to watch."

Bolt dominated sprinting for a generation, winning eight Olympic gold medals and only losing a ninth when his 2008 4x100m relay team-mate Nesta Carter failed a retrospective drugs test.

The first Olympic 100m final since the great showman's departure was a subdued affair, with Jacobs clocking 9.80sec at a Covid-emptied Tokyo National Stadium.

"My coach said something to me at the end of my career. He said, 'People are not getting faster. I was getting slower.' I never looked at it that way," said Bolt.

"And it's the facts because a lot of guys don't really get faster. Because I have pushed the barrier so far and then I started going backwards time-wise, so for me 9.80 was possible to get done."

But Bolt, who has dabbled in football and music since retiring, said it was "all about motivation" when he was considering a potential comeback in Tokyo.

"For the Olympics, it was gonna be different," said the father of three.

"I always show up ready because I think this is the highest level, but I've already done everything in the sport so it was all about motivation."

'Lightning Bolt' loses sparkle

With a rueful shake of the head, Bolt said it was "not looking good" for Jamaica's men's sprinters after they failed to reach the Tokyo 100m final and were fifth in the 4x100m relay.

And he said none of the current athletes looked capable of beating his 100m and 200m world records of 9.58 and 19.19, rarely threatened since he set them in 2009.

"I don't think I've seen anybody in this generation right now which I personally feel will break the records," he said.

"So I think I have a couple more years before somebody will actually break my world records."

Bolt, instantly recognisable worldwide, said he'd "love" to help World Athletics promote the sport and had approached its leader, Sebastian Coe, about a formal role.

But he said he had no designs on the presidency.

"No, I don't want that job. That's a lot of stress and a lot of work," he said.

He added that he would "definitely" have taken the knee to protest against racism on the Tokyo podium, where it was banned under International Olympic Committee rules.

"I understand what it's about. Racism, we've been through it so I understand the necessary aspect of it and what is needed," he said.

But he revealed that after years of striking the 'Lightning Bolt', his signature pose was beginning to grate.

"Sometimes it gets a little bit, I wouldn't say annoying. But I understand that I've done it to myself," he said with a chuckle.

"People really enjoy it and it's for the fans, you know. I mean, it's a picture that they will treasure forever.

"So for me, I'm not always happy doing it, but I do it anyways because it's for them and it makes them happy."

(11/16/2021) Views: 318 ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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World Athletics announces Safeguarding Policy

World Athletics today (10) launches its Safeguarding Policy, which is designed to ensure that those in positions of authority in athletics adopt practices that actively prevent harassment, abuse and exploitation within the sport.

The new policy aims to create a safe and welcoming environment at all levels of the sport, where everyone involved is respected, valued and protected.

This policy is founded on the principles that everyone has the right to participate and enjoy athletics in a safe inclusive environment, that everyone has the right to have their voice heard in raising welfare and behavioural issues, and that everyone involved in planning and delivering programmes for children is responsible for the care and protection of those children.

It defines the specific roles and responsibilities of Member Federations, Area Associations and World Athletics in protecting athletes and other participants in our sport.

These responsibilities include:

- Implementing and embedding this policy- Raising awareness of harassment, abuse and exploitation- Developing and delivering education and training for all those involved in athletics- Supporting victims of abuse, harassment and exploitation- Vetting and recruiting staff and volunteers in line with ethical practices- Responding to concerns raised- Reporting concerns expeditiously- Establishing partnerships with organisations and institutions in the safeguarding sector

This policy describes the procedures to be followed if harassment, abuse or exploitation occurs and sets out processes for victims to be supported.

World Athletics, its Area Associations and Member Federations will work together to implement the policy, working closely with the World Athletics Athletes’ Commission.

World Athletics will promote best practice throughout the athletics community by providing safeguarding resources and guidance to Area Associations and Member Federations, and will provide its workforce with education and training in safeguarding. Consultation on the development of these resources and guidelines is currently under way with stakeholders across the sport.

World Athletics will also review its reporting and disciplinary procedures for any alleged incidents of abuse, harassment and exploitation that fall within its jurisdiction.

Area Associations and Member Federations are asked to adopt and implement a safeguarding policy which follows both local legislation and the World Athletics policy by 2023. This policy needs to include the procedures to follow when a concern is reported, as well as investigative and disciplinary processes.

These organizations must inform the relevant public authorities, where this is required by legislation. Their workforces should be regularly trained in all aspects of safeguarding to ensure they can provide support and advice to their athletics communities.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said it was important for the sport to have strong safeguarding procedures in place, from grassroots to elite level around the globe, to protect all participants.

"Athletics clubs, schools and community sports environments should be safe and happy places for those in our sport," Coe said.

"A written policy gives our participants confidence that there are consistent structures and processes in place to report safeguarding abuses and that we will listen and we will act. But the policy is just the start. It must be implemented, monitored and developed at all levels in our sport and we will make that a priority as we move forward."

The Safeguarding Policy has been published on the World Athletics website today.

(11/10/2021) Views: 248 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Markus Ryffel donates 1984 Olympic shoes to Heritage Collection

Markus Ryffel has generously donated to the World Athletics Heritage Collection one of the running spikes he wore when earning the 5000m silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games.

The Swiss distance runner donated his left shoe to the collection in June and it is now on permanent view in glorious 360Ëš 3D in the Olympic Athletics Collection room of the Museum of World Athletics (MOWA), the world’s first virtual sports museum.

This evening at the Weltklasse Zürich Heritage Night, Ryffel was able to officially hand over the spike in person to his friend and racing contemporary, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe, who won his second 1500m title in Los Angeles in 1984.

Still the Swiss 5000m record

The final day of the 1984 Olympic athletics programme was hot and damp. The Swiss spectators among the 90,000 crowd in the Memorial Coliseum started to sweat even more as Ryffel geared up for his final sprint, 300 metres from the finish line of the 5000m final.

Portugal’s Antonio Leitao, pre-race favourite Said Aouita of Morocco, and Ryffel were neck and neck in lanes one, two and three. For a moment, even a Swiss Olympic victory seemed possible.

Aouita, however, showed himself unimpressed by Ryffel’s efforts and ran the last 400m in an unheard-of 54.7 seconds. He became the victor of a memorable race: then the third-best time in history for the Moroccan (13:05.59), with fifth place on the world all-time list for Ryffel.

Ryffel’s 13:07.54 still stands as the Swiss record 37 years later. Aouita’s Olympic record was only improved in Beijing in 2008 by Kenenisa Bekele.

Calf injury

While Aouita became the first man to run 5000m within 13 minutes in Rome, 11 months after his triumph in Los Angeles, for Ryffel the silver medal from Los Angeles remained the highlight of an illustrious career.

At the European Championships two years later, he was in a promising position but had to withdraw with an injury, which ended up requiring surgery. His calf muscles – including varicose veins inherited from his father – also thwarted his efforts at his last great aim, the marathon. He made several attempts at completing races, but time and again he had to give up some time after 30 kilometres with calf pain. He never made it to a fourth Olympics and retired from elite sport in late 1991.

New York comes to Uster

Ryffel was by no means bitter; quite the contrary. He had planned ahead during his active years. As a young man he had been a fan of Frank Shorter, the 1972 Olympic marathon champion. So it was not surprising that, aged 22, he accompanied his older brother Urs, himself a fairly successful cyclist, to the 1977 New York Marathon. He finished 16th, just ahead of four-time Olympic champion Lasse Viren.

Both of them were impressed by the “amazing atmosphere” of this mass event.

“We wanted to start something similar in our home-town Uster,” said Ryffel. And so, they established the race around the idyllic Greifensee near Zürich which has been running since 1980, initially 19km long, and over the half marathon distance since 1992. In 1998, Uster even hosted the World Half Marathon Championships, where Paul Koech and Tegla Loroupe from Kenya were the winners.

Running weeks

By the end of the 1970s, Ryffel began organising running weeks in St Moritz and trips to the New York Marathon, alongside his friends and training partners Dietmar Millonig of Austria and Thomas Wessinghage of West Germany.

The trio of runners still work together. Although the goal of the original ‘running weeks’ was to help participants achieve a 3:30 marathon time, the events have now morphed into more general running and fitness holidays in St Moritz and other alpine destinations.

Around the same time, Ryffel opened his first Ryffel Running Shop in Bern together with his brother Urs and business partner Markus Bill. A second shop in Uster followed shortly after, and the business later employed up to 28 people.

“It started in a cow shed next to my parents’ restaurant,” remembers Ryffel. He has since sold the shops to a larger company, and now organises running events, active holidays, trips to marathon races and private coaching.

‘The bike really shaped me’

Ryffel learned early that it was important to be decisive and work hard towards one’s aims. “My parents had a restaurant and a butcher shop, and we had a delivery service. Without it, I would never have become such a good runner. The kilometres on the bike really shaped me because the heart does not distinguish between cycling and running.

“Even in primary school, I did 20 or 30 km on my bike,” he added. “I had my 17 customers to whom I delivered cordon bleu and other meats.”

Ryffel’s parents, however, were not supportive of their son’s sporting ambitions at first. So it was lucky that Ryffel moved to Bern for an apprenticeship in typesetting, where he could be near his supporter and coach Heinz Schild. There he started running in the uniform of the City of Bern gymnastics club.

Ryffel is now 66. He still runs and has calculated from his paper training log that he jogged his 200,000th kilometre in 2020. That’s five times around the earth.

“I can still run regularly – and, most importantly, without pain,” he said. “And if all goes well, I will be running my 98th marathon in Chicago this year.” Because of Covid, the usual group trip to New York cannot happen, and Ryffel wants to participate in this marathon with a group aiming at a 4:30 finish time.

Times have changed. “Just being there is everything now,” he says.

(09/09/2021) Views: 302 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has paid tribute to former International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, who has died aged 79

Jacques Rogge served as the eighth President of the IOC, from 2001 to 2013, and competed for Belgium in sailing at three editions of the Olympic Games, in 1968, 1972 and 1976.

In 2005 he announced the awarding of the 2012 Games to London, with Coe having led the UK capital city’s bid.

Rogge, who was an orthopaedic surgeon with a degree in sports medicine, was married to Anne, and leaves a son, a daughter and two grandchildren.

“I am beyond sad to hear the news of Jacques’ passing,” Coe said. “I wrote to Jacques and Anne two weeks ago to tell them that all of us at World Athletics missed them at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. I said it wasn’t the same being in the Olympic stadium watching athletics without them.

“I have a mountainous gratitude for his part in the seamless delivery of London 2012. No Organising Committee could have asked or received more. He was passionate about sport and all he achieved in sport and beyond was done with common decency, compassion and a level head. We will all miss him.”

After his career as an athlete, which included becoming a Belgian rugby international, Rogge became President of the Belgian and European Olympic Committees, and was elected President of the IOC in 2001. After his IOC Presidency, he also served as a Special Envoy for Youth, Refugees and Sport to the United Nations.

“First and foremost, Jacques loved sport and being with athletes - and he transmitted this passion to everyone who knew him. His joy in sport was infectious,” said Thomas Bach, who succeeded Rogge as IOC President in 2013.

“He was an accomplished President, helping to modernise and transform the IOC. He will be remembered particularly for championing youth sport and for inaugurating the Youth Olympic Games. He was also a fierce proponent of clean sport, and fought tirelessly against the evils of doping.

“The entire Olympic Movement will deeply mourn the loss of a great friend and a passionate fan of sport.”

In a post on Twitter, World Athletics Senior Vice-President Sergey Bubka said: “Deeply mourn the loss of a wonderful personality, true friend and great leader, IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge.

“Dedicating his life to the Olympic Movement, he was very special in his human attitude towards others, incredible love for athletes and understanding of the youth.”

Among others to pay tribute to Rogge was Moroccan middle distance great Hicham El Guerrouj, who wrote: “With a heavy heart, I pray for the eternal repose of Jacques Rogge, the former president of the IOC. RIP.”

(08/30/2021) Views: 274 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Ban on cannabis, should be reviewed says World Athletics president Seb Coe

The rules on the use of cannabis by athletes should be reviewed, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has said in the wake of the case that meant Sha'Carri Richardson, winner of the women’s 100 meters at the US Olympic trials, missing Tokyo 2020.

Richardson accepted a 30-day ban, and the qualifying results she achieved were annulled, after she tested positive for the banned recreational drug during the trials.

The 21-year-old said she had been under emotional stress after learning of the recent death of her biological mother.

In response to questions on the issue, Coe has said a review is now sensible and "it should be" done, Reuters reports.

Coe added: "I am sorry for her that we have lost an outstanding talent [from the Olympic Games]", but said that existing rules were interpreted correctly.

The World Athletics President said he had asked the independent Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) to work with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on reassessing marijuana’s place on the prohibited list.

Coe, who believes the matter is a question for experts at the AIU and the WADA to determine, said Richardson’s absence was "a loss to the competition" but predicted "she will bounce back".

The 2021 World Anti-Doping Code classifies tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, marijuana, and hashish, as a "Substance of Abuse".

Athletes found to use it outside of competition face a three-month ban, although in this case the United States Anti-Doping Agency banned Richardson for 30 days as long as she also undertook a treatment programme.

Discussion on this matter is not expected to take place during the World Athletics Council’s two-day meeting that starts tomorrow before the Olympic track and field programme begins on Friday (July 30) - at least officially.

What will be under consideration is a determination of the hosts for the 2023 World Athletics Relays, held this year in Poland, the newly-established 2023 World Road Running Championships, and next year’s World Race Walking Team Championships, where a replacement is being sought for original host Minsk.

World Athletics cited "uncertainties around diplomatic relations and international travel restrictions with regard to Belarus" when stripping Minsk of hosting rights earlier this year, with protests continuing after the controversial re-election Alexander Lukashenko as the country’s President last August and many nations imposing sanctions on Belarus.

There will also be a report from World Athletics' Russia Taskforce at the Council meeting.

Day two of the meeting is understood to involve commission and working group reports.

(07/27/2021) Views: 307 ⚡AMP
by Mike Rowbottom
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Record-holding British medal Oliver Dustin hope could be banned from Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after cocaine is found in in-competition sample

A top British runner who broke a record held by World Athletics boss and two-time Olympic champ Sebastian Coe last month has reportedly provided a drugs test sample containing small traces of cocaine, threatening his Tokyo place.

Briefly the holder of the world-leading outdoor 800m time for the year after breaking Coe's record for under-23s, Oliver Dustin booked his place on the British team for Tokyo 2020 with another impressive run in Manchester less than three weeks ago.

The 20-year-old has not raced since and has consulted lawyers after returning an adverse analytical finding for traces of a cocaine metabolite following an in-competition test in France, according to The Times.

French anti-doping authorities are said to be managing the matter, with a claim that the sample has been contaminated one of the options open to Dustin in what would be a long process, the report said.

Dustin could still compete at the olympics at the Olympics if he accepts responsibility, can prove the cocaine was ingested out of competition and was then ordered to serve a one-month ban while agreeing to take an education course.

The latest World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules say: “If the athlete can establish that any ingestion or use occurred out-of-competition and was unrelated to sport performance, then the period of ineligibility shall be three months' ineligibility.

“In addition, the period of ineligibility calculated... may be reduced to one month if the athlete or other person satisfactorily completes a Substance of Abuse treatment program approved by the Anti-Doping Organization with Results Management responsibility.”

America's top female sprinter, Sha’Carri Richardson, received a four-week ban earlier this month after testing positive for cannabis, keeping her out of the Olympics because her positive test emerged after she won her country's trials over 100m.

The Times said that UK Athletics had declined to comment, while Dustin’s agent, Stephen Haas, described the news of a positive test as “not factual at this point” and offered no further comment.

Writing after securing his place at the Olympics with a second-placed finish after a thriller in Manchester, the European Athletics U20 Championships gold medalist in 2019 told his thousands of social media followers: "See you in Tokyo.

(07/15/2021) Views: 241 ⚡AMP
by Olympics
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World Athletics commits an extra US$1million prize money for athletes at World Athletics Championships

World Athletics today announced it was substantially increasing the prize money for athletes at its flagship world championships, starting with the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 next year.

US$2 million has been ringfenced from the fines paid by the Russian Athletics Federation for breaching the sport’s anti-doping rules, to go directly to athletes in the form of prize money at the WCH Oregon22 and at the WCH Budapest 23.

Speaking from the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “The last 18 months have been really tough for thousands of athletes who make their living from competing in events around the world. While we have focused on helping meetings around the world stage as many events as possible over this period – more than 600 events – we know many athletes had a very lean year last year and are still experiencing challenges this year.

“Last year we also set up an athlete fund, supported by some generous donations, to provide some financial relief to those athletes most in need. 193 athletes from 58 countries were granted up to US$3000 to go towards basic living costs such as food, accommodation and training expenses.”

World Athletics will fund the additional $1million per World Championships for the next two editions, with each of the 44 individual events receiving an additional US$23,000 of prize money at each championship.

At the most recent World Championships in Doha in 2019, US$7,530,000 in prize money was distributed to athletes who finished in the top eight of an event.

While the intention is to see the new funds go to as many athletes as possible in leading positions, the Athletes’ Commission and Competition Commission will make a recommendation to the World Athletics Council on how the funds will be allocated. The additional US$1 million in prize money will form part of the host city contract from 2025 onwards.

(06/21/2021) Views: 481 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Ron Hill turned the art of marathon running into a science and wrote the playbook for generations to come wrote Seb Coe

A tribute to Ron Hill. World Athletics is deeply saddened to hear that Britain’s Ron Hill, the 1969 European marathon champion, died on Sunday May 23 at the age of 82.

Aside from his major championship medals and four world records, Hill is best known for his dedication to athletics. He laid claim to the longest unbroken streak of running every day, a stretch that lasted 52 years and 39 days, from 1964 to 2017.

Born in Accrington in the north-west of England in September 1938, Hill first came to prominence in the early 1960s and made his international debut at the 1962 European Championships in Belgrade. He failed to finish the marathon there, however, and fared only slightly better at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, finishing a distant 18th in the 10,000m and 19th in the marathon.

Hill rebounded one year later, though, and set the first world record of his career. Competing at the Leverhulme Park track in Bolton, Hill broke two of Emil Zatopek’s long-standing world records in one fell swoop, clocking 1:15:22.6 for 25,000m and passing through 15 miles en route in 1:12:48.2.

His championship performances started to improve in the late 1960s as he placed 12th in the marathon at the 1966 European Championships and seventh in the 10,000m at the 1968 Olympics, having been controversially overlooked for a place on the marathon team.

He set two more world records in 1968, both at 10 miles. In April he clocked 47:02.2 in Leicester to break Ron Clark’s record, passing through 10,000m in 29:09.4 and 15,000m in 43:54, an unofficial world best time.

Later that year, one month after his Olympic appearance, Hill attempted to break Gaston Roelants’ one hour world record of 20,784m. He fell slightly short of that target, covering 20,471m, but passed through 10 miles in a world record time of 46:44.0.

Though that was to be the last world record of his career, Hill became a big-time performer from that point onwards, winning big city marathons and landing major medals.

He won the European marathon title in Athens in 1969, then in 1970 he became the first British runner to win the Boston Marathon, smashing the course record by three minutes with 2:10:30. A few months later, at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, he came the second man to break the 2:10 barrier for the marathon, winning gold in a European record of 2:09:28, having covered the final 10km in 29:24 (2:04 marathon pace).

He went on to take bronze in the marathon at the 1971 European Championships before making his final Olympic appearance in 1972, placing sixth in the marathon – his highest ever finish at the Games.

Hill continued to produce world-class marathon times through the 1970s, including a 2:12:35 victory at the Debno Marathon in 1975 at the age of 36, ranking him eighth in the world that year. He finished fourth at the 1976 Olympic Trials, but went on to represent Britain at various masters championships.

Hill was ahead of his time with regards to training and he was one of the first elite athletes to use the Saltin-Hermansson diet – better known as the glycogen depletion diet or ‘carb-loading’ – which he credited as playing a big part in his success at the 1969 European Championships. Ever since, it has been adopted by millions of runners as a key part of marathon preparation.

Hill, who had a PhD in textile chemistry, often raced in breathable mesh vests to help keep cool. Towards the end of his elite career, he founded Ron Hill Sports and produced top-of-the-line running clothes. He also created the Ronhill and Hilly brands, both of which are still going strong today.

Hill’s streak of consecutive daily runs – which he defined as completing a distance of at least one mile at any pace – began on 20 December 1964 and lasted for more than 52 years. He even managed workouts after a car crash in 1993 when he broke his sternum, and after bunion surgery.

In December 2013 when his streak entered its 50th year, Hill’s total logged lifetime mileage stood at 158,628 miles. His streak ended on 30 January 2017 when he experienced chest pains during a run.

“I did everything I could to be the best in the world,” he said in 2019 in an interview with Inside The Games. “I couldn't train full-time, couldn't train at altitude, couldn't afford back-up support – I only ever had two massages in my life – and when I was injured I just had to run through it. I never made any money at it, but you can't take away the gold medals.”

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe paid tribute to Hill.

"Ron Hill turned the art of marathon running into a science and wrote the playbook for generations to come," said Coe. "He was a one-off. His contribution to the classic distance is immense."

(06/18/2021) Views: 377 ⚡AMP
by Sebastian Coe (World Athletics)
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Sebastian Coe's monumental 800 meters

June 10, 1981 remains a red-letter day in the long history of 800m running, for it was in Florence late that night that Sebastian Coe lowered his own world record from 1:42.33 to 1:41.73. Every world record is special, marking as it does an advance on anything previously achieved, but Coe's run was extra-special. That time would not be bettered for 16 long years, itself a record in the annals of the men's 800m event.

When strongly-built Alberto Juantorena won the 1976 Olympic title in a world record 1:43.50 it was widely thought that here was the man to revolutionize two-lap running. And yet, for all his speed (44.26 400m) and power, the Cuban succeeded only in clipping another few hundredths off the record with 1:43.44 at the 1977 Universiade. Instead it was the slight figure of Coe who has gone down in history as the athlete who, like Germany's Rudolf Harbig in 1939 and New Zealand's Peter Snell in 1962, pushed back the frontiers of 800m performance.

It was in 1979 that Britain's Coe established himself as one of the all-time greats of middle distance running when in the space of 41 days he shattered three world records. He started with 1:42.33 in Oslo on July 5, and was as shocked as everyone else by his time. After clocking his fastest 400m of 46.87 at the AAA Championships he returned to Oslo for the star-studded Dubai Golden Mile on July 17. Despite being practically a novice at the distance with a best time of 3:57.67, he moved into the lead shortly before the three-quarter mark (2:53.4) and then proceeded to cover the final quarter in 55.6. He had run 3:48.95, again astonished when told he had broken New Zealander John Walker's world record of 3:49.4. As he related later: "When I looked back twice in the final straight it was fear, it was panic, not pain, that I was feeling. I certainly wasn't in the slightest distress at the finish."

Record number three came about in Zurich on  August 15. The target this time was the 3:32.16 1500m by Tanzania's Filbert Bayi. Elated by the knowledge that he had never been faster, having been timed at 45.5 for a 400m relay leg 10 days earlier, Coe shot off at a potentially suicidal pace by clinging to the pacemaker, sweeping through the opening 200m in 25.9 and 400m in 54.3. Before 800m (1:53.19) had been covered, Coe was on his own, nearly 20m ahead of the field. Instead of easing back on the third lap he covered that in 56.3 for 2:49.5 at 1200m and at the finish – almost five seconds clear – his time was a hard earned 3:32.03.

Coe's athletic immortality was sealed in 1980 when he triumphed in the Olympic 1500m in Moscow to make up for his 'disastrous' run in the 800m (a mere silver medal behind Steve Ovett) after adding to his portfolio of world records by covering 1000m in 2:13.40 in his first ever race at the distance.

And so to 1981. With no major title to aim for, the emphasis was on achieving spectacular 'one-off' performances. Asked how he had prepared during the winter, Coe replied: "My training mileage is slightly down but there's been more accent on speedwork. I'm going back to basics, trying to improve my 400m speed." That approach hadn't diminished his endurance, though, for he opened his indoor season by winning the UK 3000m title in a personal best of 7:55.2. Two weeks later he smashed the world indoor 800m record with 1:46.0. "I knew I was fit, but not that fit," he enthused.

A 46.9 400m and 46.3 relay leg on May 4 confirmed his speed was at a high level, and before his fateful appearance in Florence he won the Yorkshire county 800m title on May 17, in 1:46.5, an invitation 800m at Crystal Palace on  June 3, in 1:44.06 followed two hours later with a 45.8 relay split from virtually a standing start, and as a final tune-up a 46.6 relay leg at Gateshead on 7 June. He traveled to Florence not expecting anything too special ... around 1:43/1:44.

His 800m race in Florence got under way after 11pm. Kenya's 19-year-old Billy Konchellah, then a 45.38 400m performer who would go on to become world 800m champion in 1987 and 1991, acted as pacemaker. In his slipstream Coe reached 200m in 24.5 and 400m in 49.7 and was perfectly set up for a super-fast time. Sensing Konchellah was about to flag, Coe forged ahead by 450m and after 200m splits of 24.5 and 25.2 he covered the next half-lap in a daring 25.3 for a remarkable 600m time of 1:15.0 – precisely 1:40 pace for the full distance. Inevitably he slowed towards the end but still managed a final 200m of a little under 26.7.

Coe's immediate post-race response: "I'm very happy about the result, but it was terrible waiting the 10 minutes for the official result. It's getting under 1:42 that is the great thing for me. It was as hard a race as I have run for a long time. In the last 30 meters I was beginning to tie up but apart from that there was no problem."

Coe went through that 1981 season undefeated, collecting further world records at 1000m (2:12.18) and mile (3:48.53 and 3:47.33). Other glittering performances would follow, notably a second Olympic 1500m triumph in 1984, but as a testimony to the quality of that 800m exploit in Florence note that even now, 40 years on, only two men have gone faster: David Rudisha of Kenya and Wilson Kipketer of Denmark.

(06/15/2021) Views: 298 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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World Athletics president Sebastian Coe expects Tokyo Olympics to go ahead after test event in Japan

The World Athletics president, Sebastian Coe, says he understands the nervousness in Japan over hosting an Olympics during a pandemic – but believes the Games will go ahead safely after attending a half marathon test event in Sapporo on Wednesday.

Japan is battling a resurgence in coronavirus infections and opinion polls consistently find the majority of the public is opposed to the Games, which are due to open on 23 July.

Those concerns have been exacerbated by a slow vaccine rollout, with much of the country also under a state of emergency, and Coe said he recognised that many Japanese people had concerns.

“We take that nervousness very, very seriously,” he said. “We have Covid protocols that have been tried and tested, and I’ve witnessed them here. We take very seriously the health and wellbeing of local communities.”

“But the challenges are big. I don’t believe any Olympic Games has been delivered under more difficult circumstances. These Games have an overlay of complexity that is beyond most comprehension.”

There was a muted atmosphere during the test event as security guards stood with signs around their necks asking people to “please refrain from watching the race” to prevent infections.

However, a few onlookers ignored their pleas and clapped as Kenya’s Hillary Kipkoech won the men’s race in 1hr 46sec and Japan’s Mao Ichiyama won the women’s race in 1hr 8min 28sec.

Tokyo 2020’s deputy executive director of games operations, Yasuo Mori, said no one had tested positive for Covid-19, with the 69 athletes made to stay in hotels with no contact with the public.

Organizers will decide next month whether fans can attend events, but supporters from abroad have already been banned. However, Coe said that even if there were no crowds in stadiums “the Games will still take place and the competition will still be extremely good”.

Coe, who was head of the 2012 London Olympics, said it was “really important that when the world looks to coming out of Covid that it can see optimism.

“ The Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games will be totemic of that optimism and hope going forward. So it is important that the Games are delivered successfully and they’re delivered safely.”

Tokyo is officially spending £11.1bn to hold the Olympics, but some estimates say it is twice that much. The IOC is pushing on with the Games, partly because 73% of its income is from selling broadcast rights.

(05/05/2021) Views: 423 ⚡AMP
by Sean Ingle
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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World Champs timetable for 2022 season

Athletes will find tackling two events more straightforward with a spectator-friendly schedule that attempts to tick many boxes

Doubling up at the World Championships will be easier next year after the organisers in Oregon released their competition timetable for the 2022 event at Hayward Field.

The 100m and 200m, 200m and 400m, 800m and 1500m, 1500m and 5000m, 5000m and 10,000m will all now be possible without athletes having to contest more than one discipline on any given day. Other possible doubles include long jump and triple jump, plus the 20km and 35km race walks – although the race walks fraternity is unhappy the 50km distance has gone.

The 10-day schedule from July 15-24 finishes four days before the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham begin, whereas the European Championships in Munich start on August 15.

Medals will be decided in all evening sessions and some morning sessions too. Hammer throwers and 10,000m runners, for example, will have to start their warm-up early in the day for their finals.

The first day also ends with a 4x400m mixed relay final but there are heats on the same day a few hours earlier.

Another break with tradition will see 1500m finals during the first half of the championships. The blue riband 100m finals, however, are still on the first weekend.

There are no morning sessions from July 19-22, while July 18 looks like a big day for British interest with the climax of the heptathlon, Laura Muir potentially in the women’s 1500m and Dina Asher-Smith opening her 200m campaign. For Katarina Johnson-Thompson, a heptathlon and high jump or long jump double is also possible.

The final individual event of the entire championships will be the decathlon 1500m, which organisers say is in tribute to Oregon’s home-grown Olympic and world decathlon champion Ashton Eaton.

For the first time, the championships will end with the women’s 4x400m, honouring a pledge to greater gender equality that World Athletics made on International Women’s Day last month.

“The design of our world championships timetable is both an art and a science, with a lot of moving parts to fit together,’’ World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said.

“We’ve strived to create every opportunity for our athletes to shine, in the stadium, on the road and on screens around the world, and we’re looking forward to watching them do that in Oregon, as our flagship event is held in the United States for the first time.

“You won’t want to miss it,” added Coe, who frequently tackled the 800m and 1500m double during his competitive days.

(04/23/2021) Views: 298 ⚡AMP
by Athletics Weekly
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Timetables confirmed for Bathurst and Yangzhou

World Athletics and World Masters Athletics have reached a historic agreement that will see masters championships held for the first time alongside the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia, next year.

The World Athletics Council approved the proposal last week while confirming the competition timetables for both Bathurst and the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Yangzhou 2022. 

World Athletics, World Masters Athletics and the Bathurst Local Organising Committee will work together to organise the inaugural World Masters Cross Country Championships (short course) on the weekend of 19-20 February 2022.

"We have worked hard over the last few years to develop closer relationships with the various sectors of the global running community, including recreational running, mountain and trail running, and parkrun, because that makes our athletics community stronger, so I’m delighted to announce this new initiative in cooperation with World Masters Athletics," World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said. "We look forward to welcoming passionate runners of all ages and abilities to Bathurst next year for what promises to be a unique festival of cross country running."

World Masters Athletics president Margit Jungmann added: "We are excited to offer this new opportunity for masters athletes around the world to come together and celebrate their love of running and competition, and to join with the best cross country runners in the world to test themselves on the scenic Mt Panorama course at Bathurst in Australia. We are pleased to be working with World Athletics to make this a uniquely memorable event for all the masters athletes who attend."

Originally scheduled to take place in March 2021 before the Covid-19 pandemic led to its postponement, the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst will now be held on 19 February 2022. The timetable is as follows:

14:35 U20 women’s 6km15:15 U20 men’s 8km16:25 mixed relay17:05 senior women’s 10km18:05 senior men’s 10km

The World Masters Cross Country Championships will include a mixed 4 x 2km relay, tentatively scheduled before the World Athletics events on Saturday, 19 February, and a series of age group races on Sunday, 20 February.

World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Yangzhou 2022

The timetable for the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships, scheduled to take place in Yangzhou, China, on 27 March 2022, is as follows:

9:30 women’s race10:00 men’s race, followed by mass race

As with previous editions, there are no entry standards for the competition. A maximum of seven athletes may be entered by a member federation, but only five can start the race. The top three finishers for each member federation will count towards the team competition.

For the fifth successive edition, the World Half Marathon Championships will feature a mass race, giving thousands of recreational runners the chance to run in the footsteps of the best athletes in the world.

(03/28/2021) Views: 480 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Sebastian Coe warns Italy not to be on wrong side of history following Schwazer doping clearance

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has warned Italy to not be on the "wrong side of history" after a court cleared Olympic race walking champion Alex Schwazer of doping in a criminal case.

An Italian court in Bolzano ruled last month that urine samples belonging to Schwazer, who was given an eight-year ban before the Rio 2016 Olympics, were "highly likely" tampered with.

The criminal court case was dismissed after the court stated it was possible that the sample was tampered with to show up a positive result.

Schwazer was given the lengthy ban as it was his second doping offence, having previously served a three-and-a-half year suspension for testing positive for erythropoietin before the London 2012 Olympics.

The Italian has not disputed results of that first test.

He did claim he was a victim of foul play related to his second ban, which was handed to him following a sample from January 1 2016.

It had initially given negative results, but a new analysis revealed traces of steroids.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) gave the Beijing 2008 50-kilometre race walk champion an eight-year ban for his second offence, but after the Italian court ruling, Coe criticised its decision.

"We do resolutely reject any attempt by the athlete or any individuals associated with the athlete to undermine or seek to annul the final CAS ruling," said Coe in a press conference.

"It was an award based on what can be best described as far-fetched manipulation theories."

The ruling in Bolzano has led to a suggestion that Schwazer could appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

CAS rejected an appeal from Schwazer to overturn his lengthy ban in August 2016 and the Swiss Federal court upheld CAS' ruling when the Italian later appealed to it.

Schwazer was stripped of a World Race Walking Team Championships title won in Rome in 2016 as a result of the second anti-doping violation.

"I don't want Italy to be on the wrong side of history here," added Coe.

"The Athletics Integrity Unit and World Athletics stand absolutely by the position they've taken.

"The issue is clearly one that is exercising Italy and it is important that we remain very firm and very resolute here.

"I don't want Italian track and field to be tainted, I just hope that people recognise that this is an important issue and history will be unkind."

(03/22/2021) Views: 354 ⚡AMP
by Michael Houston
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World Athletics Council opens Tokyo 2020 door for Russian athletes

World Athletics Council today agreed to reinstate the Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) scheme, suspended since last March, allowing individual Russian competitors to qualify for this summer’s scheduled Tokyo 2020 Games.

The scheme - which allows Russian athletes who meet anti-doping criteria to take part in international competition - was suspended in March last year following the latest scandal involving the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF), which has been banned since November 2015 following the revelations of state-sponsored doping.

Rune Andersen, the World Athletics' Russia Taskforce chairman, said that Russian athletes would be able to apply for ANA status immediately, but there will be a cap of 10 athletes for the next Olympics and at World Athletics Championships.

He added that this was dependent on RusAF continuing to satisfy the requirements agreed for their eventual return.

RusAF faced expulsion from World Athletics last year for obstructing an anti-doping investigation into world indoor high jump champion Danil Lysenko and failing to pay outstanding fines.

After missing its July 1 payment deadline RusAF stood on the brink, but a last-minute intervention by Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin, who made an "unconditional" offer to pay the outstanding fine of $6.31 million (£4.52 million/€5.28 million), saved them.

On March 1 this year a final plan for the reinstatement of the RusAF was unanimously approved by the World Athletics Council following the recommendation of Andersen.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe warned at the time that the initial approval was "not the end but the beginning of a long journey, with an incredible amount of work for RusAF to do to rebuild trust."

Reflecting upon the original creation of the ANA scheme earlier this month in a Sports Law Q&A podcast, Coe told British lawyer Jonathan Taylor: "I didn’t for all sorts of reasons want to visit the sins of the parents upon the children in our Russia challenge.

"What in simple terms does that mean?

"If I could identify clean athletes that were untainted but in a tainted system then my responsibility was to try and find a construct that would allow them to compete.

"That’s where we got our Authorised Neutral Athletes from, and many of them have maintained international competition in the last few years.

"They don’t have the panoply of uniforms and national anthems but most of them are just relieved to be competing."

One Russian track and field athlete was able to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics under the recently instituted ANA scheme - long jumper Darya Klishina.

(03/18/2021) Views: 346 ⚡AMP
by Mike Rowbottom
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Sebastian Coe claims he went out of his way to keep competitive options open for differences in sexual development athletes

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has defended the decision his Federation took over athletes with differences in sexual development (DSD), claiming he had sought to keep competitive options open in the female category even though a different alternative may have been open to him.

The World Athletics rules, which went into effect in 2019, cap athlete testosterone levels in women’s events from the 400 metres through the mile for athletes with DSD such as South Africa’s Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya.

World Athletics said that no female athletes would have a level above the cap - five nanomoles per litre - unless they had a DSD or a tumour, and that in the case of athletes in the DSD category testosterone-suppressing medication would need to be taken in order to bring levels into the agreed range.

Semenya has lost appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland against the World Athletics regulations over the past two years.

But earlier this month the South African Government’s Department of Sport, Arts and Culture pledged R12 million (£576,600/$803,000/€671,500) to help her appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against her testosterone ruling.

Speaking in a Sports Law Q&A podcast, Coe told British lawyer Jonathan Taylor: "If I’m being hard-nosed about it, if I’d stuck simply to the definitions around biology then I would probably have got support for preventing those athletes from competing at all in a female category,

"I didn’t want to do that."

Coe added: "So finding the right level of controllable testosterone over a period that allowed them to compete at those distances was for me absolutely in alignment with every philosophy, every principle that I went into the sport for.

"But then you get the next challenge about human rights.

"I am very acutely conscious of human rights.

"But the question I then ask is whose human rights are we talking about here?

"Are we talking about the millions of girls that enter athletics and want to feel that they are competing at least on a level footing, do I have a concern about them?

"Yes I do.

"But I also wanted to preserve that in a way that didn’t stigmatise and cause hurt to other athletes.

"It was a difficult decision to make.

"The easier decision would frankly have been to have sat there and done nothing at all, which if I’m being honest is where pretty much the most of sport has gone now.

"We have a similar challenge around transgender and our policy there was in large part driven and in alignment with what we have done around DSD.

"So you don’t come into any sport at the level I chose to get elected at and think you are going to make a lot of friends.

"You do have to do what you think is in the best interests of the sport and possibly that judgement is made way beyond the term that you are serving."

Referring to the decision taken in 2016 to ban Russian athletes competing in the wake of the scandal over organised doping in that country, Coe added: "I know that the approach we took about Russia didn’t leave us in a position of unalloyed joy with other sporting organisations out there.

"When we all went to the Rio Games you could feel the icy blast about what we’d done.

"But I don’t want athletics to ever be on the wrong side of history."

(03/18/2021) Views: 302 ⚡AMP
by Mike Rowbottom
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Twelve cities from around the globe have expressed interest in hosting the inaugural World Athletics Road Running Championships in 2023

The strong international interest in hosting this new event, which will combine elite and mass races in a unique format, is a ringing endorsement of a festival concept designed to unite the international road running community. 

The creation of the World Athletics Road Running Championships, incorporating the World Half Marathon Championships, was approved by the Council in December, and cities around the world were asked to indicate their interest in hosting the event.

The 2023 event will include elite races over both 5km and the half marathon, accompanying mass races, and a week-long festival of supporting events, including parkrun events across the host city, a global running conference, health and fitness expos and clinics.

Potential hosts will have to submit formal bids by 1 June and the World Athletics Council will select the host city in July.

World Athletics Continental Tour

The World Athletics Council has approved a greatly expanded Continental Tour calendar for 2021, including 85 Gold, Silver and Bronze meetings, after the new international series was launched successfully last year.

Despite the challenges created by the pandemic, 29 Continental Tour meetings were held last year, including seven Gold meetings (of the 10 that were originally scheduled).

This year’s calendar includes 15 Gold meetings, with two in Africa following the addition of a second meeting to join Nairobi, and three Gold meetings to be held in the United States. The venues for the new meetings will be confirmed shortly.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe welcomed the commitment of meeting directors and Member Federations across the six continental Areas to create new competition opportunities for the athletes.  

“We wouldn’t have chosen to launch a new global athletics tour on the eve of a pandemic, but the Continental Tour proved to be such a strong concept that it thrived even in these adverse circumstances,’’ he said.

“The tour has expanded substantially in 2021, and we’re delighted that it has been embraced so enthusiastically across the world. I’m particularly pleased to see that the US has stepped up to stage three Gold meetings as well as at least nine other Silver and Bronze meetings. These will provide new and vital competition opportunities and prize money for athletes and strengthen our sport both in the USA and internationally. We see the expanded US calendar as an early legacy of the decision to take our flagship event, the World Athletics Championships, to Oregon in 2022.

“We will continue to drive innovation and boost the competition opportunities available to our athletes around the world, with our immediate focus on the World Athletics Relays Silesia 2021, to be held in Poland in just six weeks’ time.”  

Competition dates

The Council confirmed the dates for the 2022 World Athletics U20 Championships, which will be held in Cali, Colombia from 2-7 August, 2022, and the 2023 World Athletics Indoor Championships, which will be held in Nanjing, China from 17-19 March, 2023. 

(03/17/2021) Views: 310 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Sebastian Coe says, Olympic Games not just financial, it's spiritual

The president of World Athletics says he is concerned for the wellbeing of athletes as they prepare for the delayed Tokyo Olympic Games amid the "rumours" of cancellation.

Lord Sebastian Coe, who is also a current IOC member and former UK member of Parliament, said he would not buy into any discussion around a political divide in Japan after London's Times newspaper reported Tokyo was looking for a way out of hosting the Games.

"As a former politician I'm long enough in the tooth to know you don't actually ever comment about the politics of someone else's country," Lord Coe told The Ticket.

"And I certainly don't want to get into the well-worn fragilities of a coalition government."

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga issued a statement on Friday saying the Government and "all our delivery partners" would continue "to make every effort to prepare for a safe and secure Games", and Lord Coe says that is where the focus should be.

"I think the most important thing that I've witnessed in the last few hours, given the nature of that story, is it was immediately knocked down by the Japanese Prime Minister," he said.

"It's probably better for athletes, who I do have concerns about, that they're not swept along from rumour to rumour and losing focus on what they need to really focus on."

The cost of organising the Games has ballooned to more than $20 billion.

Cancellation would not only mean that money — mostly Government funding with some private investment — is sunk, but the IOC's major funding source would also evaporate.

Of course we want the Games but not just for the financial reasons.

"No sport wants to go indefinitely without those big global showcase moments where the world can see, in our case, the most God-given talented athletes on the planet.

Everybody is scenario planning … we're all two-speed organisations at the moment — or should be.

"It's not just financial, I think it is also spiritual — the world needs sport."

"I think we have a responsibility across the sporting landscape to reassure the people of Japan who have shown remarkable resilience.

"I wake up grateful each morning that it is Japan dealing with this challenge and not some parts of the world I could think of."

Above all, Lord Coe remains confident the Tokyo Games will go ahead.

(01/25/2021) Views: 429 ⚡AMP
by Tracey Holmes
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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World Athletics Cross Country Championships Bathurst 2021 has partnered with ASICS to launch a global running initiative designed to allow runners to participate and interact with each other

Due to the global pandemic, the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia, have been postponed until 19 February 2022, but the local organisers have launched a Global Challenge event that is open to all runners and will coincide with the original dates in 2021.

The World Athletics Cross Country Championships Bathurst 2021 Global Challenge is open for entries for individuals and teams now. The global virtual event starts on 1 February and runs until 21 March 2021, which will celebrate 1 year to go to the World Athletics Cross Country Championships, in Bathurst on 19 Feb 2022.

The Global Challenge is a public event open to all age groups regardless of ability. It is about celebrating taking part, with categories from 7 to 70+ and rankings that will give participants the chance to see how they compare in their country and internationally.  A World Athletics Cross Country Championships Bathurst 2021 Global Challenge medal will also be available to competitors. 

Following completion of the Global Challenge, the top ten participants in their category, across the world, will receive an invitation to compete in the exclusive Global Challenge Final event in April 2021.

This major cross-country event focuses on delivering age-appropriate distances, category champions and provides opportunities for athletes of all fitness levels to compete against each other, on a global scale, using developments in technology to enhance the user experience. 

Participants will ultimately compete to win a VIP trip of a lifetime to Australia, to experience the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, live in 2022 and to receive worldwide recognition of their achievements.

World Athletics President, Sebastian Coe believes this initiative will grow the sport and inspire people across the world.

‘With a little more than one year to go to the main event in Bathurst, the local organising committee has created an interactive virtual experience for the global running community to celebrate the first World Athletics Cross Country Championships to be held in Australia,’’ World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said.

“I invite everyone to join our running community and experience the power of our sport to unite people around the world.”  

This event encourages runners to complete their individual challenge anywhere at any time with distances for individuals aged 7 to 70+. 

Runners are encouraged to upload their race performance to the results hub, with participants from around the world able to see how they measure up to their peers and other countries.

(01/18/2021) Views: 617 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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World Athletics Cross Country

World Athletics Cross Country

Athletes from across the globe will descend on Australia for the World Athletics Cross Country Championships Bathurst 2021. Mount Panorama is better known as the home of Australia’s premier endurance motor race, but in one year from now, it will welcome the world’s best endurance runners for what will be Australia’s first World Athletics Series event in...

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British sprints coach Lloyd Cowan died at the age of 58

During his 20-year coaching career, Cowan guided many leading British sprinters, including 2008 Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu, 2010 European 110m hurdles champion Andy Turner and his son Dwayne Cowan, part of Britain’s bronze medal-winning 4x400m quartet at the 2017 World Championships.

A talented athlete in his own right, Cowan was selected for the 1984 Olympics in the 110m hurdles but was unable to take his place on the team due to illness. Ten years later, he represented England at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria and narrowly missed out on making the final.

After retiring from competitive athletics in his late 30s, he moved into coaching and soon made a name for himself as one of the leading sprints coaches in the UK.

Ohuruogu was one of Cowan’s first major successes. She won the Commonwealth title in 2006, world titles in 2007 and 2013, and the Olympic title in 2008.

Turner, under Cowan’s guidance, also became a frequent medallist at major championships. He won European bronze in 2006, European gold in 2010 and world bronze in 2011.

Cowan also coached several national champions and international relay medallists, including European 4x100m champion Bianca Williams, 2008 Olympic 100m hurdles finalist Sarah Claxton, 2012 world indoor 4x400m champion Shana Cox, 2009 world 4x100m bronze medallist Simeon Williamson, European indoor 4x400m silver medallist Amber Anning, and sub-10-second 100m sprinter James Dasaolu.

In 2013 Cowan was appointed lead sprints coach at UK Athletics. Later that year, he was awarded the prestigious Ron Pickering Memorial Award for Services to Athletics, and in 2015 he was appointed MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire).

But it was the success of his son, Dwayne, which made Cowan most proud. A relative latecomer to the sport, Dwayne established himself as one of the top 400m runners in the UK in 2017. He won the 400m at the European Team Championships, clocked a PB of 45.34, and reached the semifinals at the World Championships in London before helping Britain to bronze in the 4x400m, recording the team’s fastest split (44.2).

“There will never be another Lloyd Cowan,” said Turner. “He knew me better than anyone. We had some amazing times and even better stories along the way. He made such a huge impact on my life. I owe him everything. I hope he realised how many lives he changed and how loved he was.”

World 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith paid tribute to the larger-than-life character. “Rest in power, Lloyd,” she said. “He was one of the pillars of our community and always had words of calm, wisdom and care for everyone. He knew when to make you laugh, when to be serious and most of all knew how to make you believe in yourself.”

“A really sad start to the athletics year,” added World Athletics President Sebastian Coe. “He was a great coach, mentor and teammate. A massive loss to the sport.”

(01/12/2021) Views: 433 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Seb Coe warns it will be harder than ever to cheat at Tokyo Olympics

Sebastian Coe has warned the biggest names in track and field that being “high profile no longer protects you from the investigative powers of the sport” – and predicted it will be harder than ever to get away with taking banned drugs at the Tokyo Olympics.

There has long been a suspicion that some countries have not done everything in their powers to catch their stars who cheat. However Coe, the World Athletics president, insisted things had now fundamentally changed and that drugs cheats would now be “fearlessly and ruthlessly weeded out” by the independent Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

Athletes need to understand why Russia is so important to the IOC

While Coe readily conceded it was not a good thing for the sport that its fastest man, the world 100m champion Christian Coleman, was serving a doping ban for missing tests, he said it showed the system was working.

“The AIU was a centrepiece in the reforms and that’s exactly why I pushed for that independent, dispassionate organisation that could remove the decision making from any undue political interference,” he said. “I like to think that it has shown the athletes that we’re not respecters or fearful of reputation. Where there is an infraction we’re not fearful of sitting there going: ‘Oh well that’s quite a big name.’

“The AIU is not always going to be on everybody’s Christmas card list, nor should they be. But I do think that it has restored some confidence among the athletes that we’ve got an organisation out there that will fearlessly and ruthlessly weed out the cheats when and where they surface.”

Coe said athletics now did more intelligence-led testing than any other sport – a fact that made him hopeful it will be harder than ever to cheat at the Tokyo Olympics.

Those comments will raise eyebrows in some quarters, given he also predicted before the London 2012 Olympics that it would be “the cleanest in history”. But Coe said he was confident that was the case. “Technology has improved, significantly even since 2012. Now, we’ve become much more sophisticated in the way testing takes place. It’s much more intelligence-led. And we’ve also got the AIU and that’s now 20-odd people with a good chunk of those people are sophisticated international investigators as well.

“I feel that I will be taking World Athletics as a federation to Tokyo with better systems in place than any other federation. I’m proud to be able to say that. And what I can say is if athletes do cheat there is a greater chance of them being caught in Tokyo than probably any previous Games.”

Coe also dismissed suggestions that the whereabouts system, under which athletes receive a two-year ban if they miss three drug tests in a 12-month period, was unduly harsh.

(12/24/2020) Views: 496 ⚡AMP
by Sean Ingle
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Sebastian Coe predicts bright future for athletics amid virus concerns

World Athletics (WA) has endured a turbulent year, but the global athletics governing body's president Seb Coe is confident the challenges have made his organisation, and the sport, "more resilient."

Having piloted the Monaco-based WA through the turbulence, Coe believes his international federation is on cruise control and that the prospects of 2021 are mouth-watering.

In an end-of-year interview with leading African sports desks, including Nation Sport, earlier this week, Coe reflected on a difficult, coronavirus-ravaged season that also saw WA wriggle out of negative vibe coming out of the organisation's former president Lamine Diack's trial for corruption in Paris.

In September, Diack, 87, a former Mayor of Dakar, was found guilty by a Paris court of covering up doping cases by Russia and was handed a four-year jail sentence, two of these years suspended.

The man who had led the global track and field body for 16 years was also fined 500,000 Euros (about Sh6 million) by presiding judge Rose-Marie Hunault who ruled that Diack's actions "caused serious damage to the fight against doping."

Having been first elected at the organisation's sixth president in August, 2015, Coe set out to streamline operations in Monaco, cutting down on unnecessary expenditure and moving to shore up WA's finances.

Globalising athletics

His focus on globalising athletics saw Nairobi win the rights to host the 2017 World Under-18 Championships and also the 2020 (now 2021) World Under-20 Championships along with a leg of the World Athletics Continental Tour, what was then named the "Kip Keino Classic."

Commissions and working groups at World Athletics were whittled down from over 30 to just half a dozen and virtual conferences preferred to expensive trips to the principality for working meetings.

Diack was notorious for his extravagance that saw his friends, their spouses and girlfriends from Dakar on the global body's tab for junkets to the affluent Monte Carlo for the annual IAAF Gala, with half of the time spent on shopping sprees rather than track and field business.

Youssour N'dour and "Mama Africa" Miriam Makeba formed part of the high profile ensemble that entertained Diack's administration at the Gala, usually as the climax of a six-course, black jacket dinner ceremony, mostly at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel whose current room price per night is up to Sh280,000, bed and breakfast!

Coe drastically cut down on this extravagance.

The Briton's administration whittled down the grandeur by organising a pocket-friendly, theatre-style gala with just cocktails and bitings in place of the sumptuous Diack dinners that notoriously sampled Monte Carlo Bay's culinary delights such as caramelized back of salmon with honey, or "Black Tiger" prawns, virgin sauce with basil, pushed down the throats of excited guests by three scoops of home made ice-creams and sorbets, with the best selection of bottomless wine from the French Riviera's wineries and vineyards to boot.

Besides the financial matters, getting athletes back into training after the coronavirus outbreak and juggling around the global athletics calendar were other priorities.

"Going back to March when, clearly, life became very much more complicated because of Covid, for all of us anywhere in the world, with sudden travel restrictions and bans and pressures on athletes, the first objective we set ourselves - which was an understandable one because we are an athlete-centred organisation - was to do everything we possibly could to get the athletes back in training and then into competition," Coe looked back.

Coe is happy that WA was not only focusing on solving problems, but also "identifying the right problems to solve."

"Look, we went through the school of hard knocks for four years from 2015 on-wards... I don't need to retrace my steps through there, that was a very global level of scrutiny for our sport."

"We came through it stronger and I think that bravery, that strength, that resilience allowed us through the pandemic year to continue to remain balanced and to continue to do all the things that we wanted to do in the sport, and to make brave decisions in our sport and that bravery has served us well in the past and I think it will serve us well next year."

(12/22/2020) Views: 363 ⚡AMP
by Elias Makori
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Sebastian Coe says that he is not sure Russian doping issue can be resolved in near future

World Athletics President, Sebastian Coe said on Friday, that he wants the suspended Russia to return as an “accountable and responsible” member federation but he is not sure of resolving the Russian doping issue in the near future.

Russia was suspended in 2015 after World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) found evidence of mass doping among Russian track and field athletes. “I hope it in the foreseeable future, I am not sure, I will use the word ‘near’. I cannot quantify that (future) but that has to be our ambition,” Coe answered when asked if he is hopeful of resolving the Russian doping issue in the near future.

“It’s not a good thing to have a country like Russia sitting outside our sport. I want Russia to be back as a fully functioning member federation with accountability and responsibility, that every other member federation accepts,” Coe said during an interaction with PTI.

The Russian federation paid a multi-million dollar fine in August to avoid expulsion from World Athletics. “I am optimistic, we are moving in right direction. There is a new president of the federation elected recently (Pyotr Ivanov) and the (WA) Task Force thinks at last, there is a federation president who is seized of the importance of driving a change,” Coe said.

World Athletics in September gave Russia a six-month extension to finalise it’s reinstatement plan, before it decides on it’s potential fresh sanctions or even expulsion. ” Our task force chaired by Rune Andersen gave an update report to the (WA) Council last week. We had two days of council meeting and he (Andersen) said ”he is more optimistic about the process that we are in,” the 64-year old said.

“The re-instatement roadmap is going to be with us datelined beginning March. Hoping it might be a little bit earlier. It then allows us to look at the status of authorised neutral athletes (ANA). But there is another (trail) of complexities in that because the WADA is still waiting the outcome of an appeal (by Russian athletes) to the Court of Arbitration of Sports,” the double Olympic medalist added.

Coe was asked how difficult it was to conduct dope tests of athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are continuing (testing of athletes) though it is challenging. There are travel restrictions… logistic challenges getting to the athletes. But we have continued our testing processes. Right at the beginning of the pandemic, I had advised the athletes very strongly not to conclude that they are going to be in a test free zone,” he answered.

“The nature of testing has changed, now it is intelligence-led, it is incremental and sequential. We know who, how and where the challenges are. Most of the athletes are very happy that we are taking that approach,” he added.

(12/16/2020) Views: 371 ⚡AMP
by FS Desk
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World Athletics has opened the door for Russia track and field stars to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year

World Athletics opens door for Russia to potentially compete at Tokyo Olympics – providing the country now fulfils its promises of serious reform.

The Russian Athletics Federation (Rusaf) looked close to being expelled from the sport in September but the election of a new president, Peter Ivanov, on Monday has led to cautious optimism that Russia could finally end its five-year suspension from the sport.

Rune Andersen, the chair of the World Athletics taskforce on restoring Russia’s membership, admitted there had been progress in developing “a meaningful reinstatement plan” to drive the cultural change required for Russia to return to full international membership of the sport by the deadline of 1 March 2021.

“A new framework agreement has been put in place,” he said. “The international experts have already begun working with the senior Rusaf management team, and have reported that that team has been very responsive and constructive in its approach.”

Rusaf was initially suspended in November 2015 following allegations of state-sponsored doping and appeared close to being kicked out of the sport after its former leaders attempted to cover-up an anti-doping investigation into Danil Lysenko, the 2018 world indoor high jump champion. It led to Dmitry Shlyakhtin, the president of the Russian track and field federation, being charged by the Athletics Integrity Unit and stepping down.

However, Russia was granted a reprieve after the sports minister, Oleg Matytsin, who promised they were committed to solving a number of issues, gave an “unconditional” promise to pay an outstanding fine of £5m.

The president of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, said he would be “pleased” to see Russian athletes competing in Tokyo – even if it was under a neutral flag – but said that was dependent not only on the behaviour of Rusaf but on what the International Olympic Committee decided in the months ahead.

(12/04/2020) Views: 496 ⚡AMP
by Sean Ingle
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Sebastian Coe says that World Half 2020 nearly did not happen due to coronavirus-related restrictions

Recent Gdynia event almost fell foul of coronavirus-related restrictions, weather problems and a fire in one of the technical buildings

World Athletics president Seb Coe has applauded the return of competition during the latter months of 2020 but reveals the World Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia in October was almost cancelled due to the coronavirus, bad weather and a fire in the timing area.

“It was one of the tougher championships that we’ve had to deliver,” said Coe, who was speaking after the latest World Athletics Council meeting. “Had it been held a couple of days or even 24 hours later it probably wouldn’t have taken place because Gydnia moved into the red zone Covid-wise in Poland.”

He added: “Two days before that the city was hit by monstrous storms and winds. And on the night before the championships we had a fire in the Seiko timings and results hut that very nearly rendered us without any timing or results equipment at all.

“It was at point I was waiting for a plague of locusts to arrive,” he joked. “But the athletes who punched through in the end and at that extraordinary event we had a world record, area records and 22 national records.”

Ultimately, Coe said, the event was a “synthesis of fantastic resilient relationships”.

Coe added: “It has been the athletes who have driven the latter part of our season and kept us front and centre. Since our last Council meeting we’ve delivered a world championships, six Diamond League meetings, seven Continental Tour Gold meetings, four Continental Tour Silver and twelve Continental Tour Bronze meetings.”

Given this Coe said there had been enough action in the second half of the year to merit holding the annual World Athletics Awards – and they will be streamed live on Saturday December 5.

Elsewhere dates for the 2022 World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst (February 19) and World Indoor Championships in Belgrade (March 18-19) were confirmed.

It was also confirmed that World Athletics has asked for a mixed team cross-country relay and the women’s 50km race walk to be included in the 2024 Olympics.

(12/03/2020) Views: 482 ⚡AMP
by Jason Henderson
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Sebastian Coe has urged the Government to act now and get children back playing sport

 If schools can open then why can't clubs? Sport can save our children and Prime Minister Boris Johnson must act now!

The Covid-19 pandemic is a watershed moment in our times. The pandemic has not only upended the way we live our daily lives but it has also become a catalyst that has led us to prioritise health and safety above all else.

In the process, unprecedented measures have been implemented and England is now in the throes of another nationwide lockdown, with families again forced to keep their distance, households prevented from mixing, and people unable to work.

While the restrictions are intended to curb the spread of the virus, they are also producing dire and unintended consequences.

Perhaps we all assumed that everyone across the nation would face the same hardships during the lockdown. However, many didn’t fully appreciate that it would end up hitting hard some of our poorest communities, particularly children living in poverty.

A study by UCL found that a fifth of schoolchildren had done little to no home learning over the summer term, perhaps because of a lack of access to the internet, laptops or computers at home.

What has now begun to emerge, is a mental health epidemic among our children, which we can’t afford to ignore. The NSPCC recently revealed that calls to ChildLine reached nearly 43,000 between March and October, with counsellors supporting children who were feeling isolated, anxious and insecure after being cut off from their networks of social support such as friends and teachers.

It is these sobering statistics that should spur us into action. We, and in particular the Government, have an opportunity to fix the problem before it becomes overwhelming. We must find ways to balance the restrictions with solutions that can help preserve the mental health and wellbeing of our youngest and most vulnerable.

Sport is an obvious solution. Ensuring children receive regular physical education, structured exercise and a means to run around and play during the lockdown can lead to unquestioned mental health benefits; improving self-confidence, nurturing positive relationships among peers, bolstering their mood, fostering social cohesion in communities and of course staying fit and healthy.

I’ve said it before. Sport is the hidden social worker in many of our neighbourhoods. Disadvantaged families often rely on support that sport gives them, whether it’s in the form of an after-school club, or a charity that caters for the young in the community.

Unfortunately, current Government restrictions have meant that many charities and community clubs have been restricted or prevented from providing that support to the people that need it most at a time when they need it the most.

(11/24/2020) Views: 347 ⚡AMP
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World Athletics has announced contenders for COVID Inspiration Award

World Athletics has announced the Herculis Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco, the Ultimate Garden Clash and the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia as the nominations for the special COVID Inspiration Award.

The international governing body revealed the award aims to recognise event organisations in a year of unprecedented challenges, roadblocks and disruptions brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The three events were nominated to show the organisers efforts to meet those challenges and provide competitive opportunities for athletes and entertaining events for fans around the world.

"Necessity has been the mother of invention for all of us in this pandemic year and we have seen some really creative initiatives and programmes from our athletes and our event organisers, who have had to reinvent their operations and surmount huge obstacles in order to provide competition for our athletes and fans, which is the lifeblood of our sport," Sebastian Coe, World Athletics President, said.

"We wanted to recognise their enormous resilience and creativity this year by presenting this special award to one of those events that have been exceptionally innovative this year."

The World Athletics Council selected the three nominations.

The Herculis Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco was put forward with World Athletics claiming the event overcame unprecedented public health and safety concerns, global travel restrictions and painful budget cuts to stage their annual competition.

The event marked the start of the heavily interrupted Diamond League season on 14 August and saw Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei break the men’s 5,000 metres world record in front of a crowd of 5,000 spectators.

The event featured 132 athletes, including 13 reigning world champions.

A total of 36 countries participated in the event despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, with 14 world-leading performances achieved at the meeting.

Of those 14 performances, 11 remained the year’s best performances at the end of the season.

(11/09/2020) Views: 388 ⚡AMP
by Michael Pavitt
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2020 World Athletics Awards will be virtually

This year's finest athletics achievements will be celebrated at the World Athletics Awards 2020, to be staged as a virtual event on Saturday 5 December and streamed live on the World Athletics YouTube channel.

This year’s ceremony will recognize exceptional achievement in what has been an extraordinary and unprecedented year, both on and off the fields of play, and a celebration of the athletes who met the challenges of 2020 head-on to produce some of the finest performances in the history of our sport.

Once again, athletics fans from around the world will be invited to help select the male and female athletes of the year.

Commenting on the Award, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “In a disruptive year our athletes continued to train hard and our event organizers went above and beyond to deliver four full Diamond League events and four Diamond League exhibition meetings, seven Continental Tour events, a World Half Marathon Championships and a number of innovative virtual events including the Ultimate Garden Clash. Whilst this was not the year any of us had planned for, I am proud of our athletes, our meeting organizers and the World Athletics team for their tenacity and determination. This is what we will celebrate at this year’s Annual Awards.”

Eight awards, including those in three new categories, will be presented:

Male and Female Athlete of the YearThese awards recognize the top-performing athletes of the year. A three-way voting process – split between the World Athletics Council, the World Athletics Family, and the worldwide community of athletics fans – will determine the five men and five women finalists.

The nominees for Male Athlete of the Year will be announced on Monday 2 November and the nominees for Female Athlete of the Year on Tuesday 3 November.

President’s AwardThis award recognizes and honors exceptional service to athletics.

Coaching Achievement AwardGiven to a coach who has helped athletes thrive, particularly in this difficult year.

Covid Inspiration AwardThis award will recognize an individual or group of individuals whose efforts, despite the challenges of 2020, have resulted in the delivery of a particularly inspiring athletics event or experience.

Member Federations AwardLike the Covid Inspiration Award, this honor will recognize a member federation that has managed to deliver an uplifting athletics event, development event or experience in spite of this year’s challenges.

Athletes Community AwardA special award from the athletes to a group of individuals who have helped and supported them and their communities throughout trying times.

Athletics Photograph of the YearAwarded to the best athletics photograph of 2020, as decided by an expert panel of judges.  The voting process for the Athlete of the Year awards will open next week. 

(10/26/2020) Views: 425 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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The Fukuoka Marathon, one of the world’s oldest footraces, was awarded World Athletics Heritage status for its advancement of the track and field event

The marathon was one of six events that received the status from World Athletics on Oct. 3, and it is the fifth Japanese recipient of a Heritage Plaque under the recognition system that started in 2018.

The Asahi Shimbun is one of the organizers of the Fukuoka marathon, which was first held in 1947.

From the 1960s to the 1970s, the marathon course was praised as a high-speed track, and two world records were set in the race, including the first finish under 2 hours and 10 minutes, by Australian Derek Clayton in 1967.

The competition was called “the effective world’s top marathon championship” at the time, and the smooth management of the event received international accolades.

In a statement, British track legend Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics, praised the Fukuoka race for the excellent reputation it earned in the global athletics community through its long history.

Past Heritage Plaque winners from Japan are: Chuhei Nanbu, who won gold in the triple jump at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics; the Hakone Ekiden relay marathon; Yoshio Koide, who coached Olympic marathon gold medalist Naoko Takahashi; and the Rikujo Kyogi Magazine (Track and field magazine).

(10/22/2020) Views: 642 ⚡AMP
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Fukuoka Marathon

Fukuoka Marathon

The Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship is one of the longest running races in Japan, it is alsoan international men’s marathon race established in 1947. The course record is held by Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, running 2:05:18 in 2009. Frank Shorter won first straight years from 1971 to 1974. Derek Clayton set the World Record here in 1967 running 2:09:37. ...

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Sebastian Coe said on Friday he embraced new track technology that features pacemaking lights, a system used to great effect in two stunning world records last week

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said on Friday he embraced new track technology that features pacemaking lights, a system used to great effect in two stunning world records last week.Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei (men's 10,000m) and Ethiopia's Letesenbet Gidey (women's 5,000m) blew two longstanding records apart in Valencia.

Both athletics had a team of metronomic pacemakers around them who utilised Wavelight technology -- a trackside visual time guidance system which lights up to indicate the world record pace."You have to innovate, there's no question about that," Coe said in Gdynia, Poland, ahead of Saturday's world half-marathon races. 

While acknowledging there was a balance to be struck, Coe argued that technological advances were paramount in attracting new audiences.

"You need to create a connection and the key connection is understanding.

"Pace lights I have no problem with. Our one-day meetings are about entertainment and I think Wavelight that allow people on television, to understand a little bit more about the incredible talent, the incredible talent, the incredible speeds our competitors are running at actually lends to the type of understanding I want."

Coe also argued that pacemakers had been around for decades, notably citing Roger Bannister's first sub-four-minute mile as a "pace-made event".

(10/16/2020) Views: 545 ⚡AMP
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World Half Marathon Championships

World Half Marathon Championships

The Chinese city of Yangzhou will host the 2022 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships. China, one of the fastest-growing markets in road running, had 24 World Athletics Label road races in 2019, more than any other country. It hosted the World Half Marathon Championships in 2010 in Nanning and will stage the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing in 2021. ...

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Sebastian Coe has repeated his support for the right of athletes at next year's Tokyo Olympics to “take the knee” on the medal podium

Sebastian Coe stood at the edge of the track at Tokyo s new National Stadium on Thursday. Dressed in a blue suit and speaking in a light drizzle, he repeated his support for the right of athletes to advocate for social or racial justice at next year's postponed Tokyo Olympics.

“I’ve been very clear that if an athlete chooses to take the knee on a podium then I’m supportive of that,” Coe said, giving a boost to Black Lives Matter protests and other social- and racial-justice movements that are determined to use Tokyo as a stage.

Coe is speaking out in direct opposition to Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter that says "no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

Coe is not just any voice. He's an International Olympic Committee member, a two-time Olympic gold-medal winner, and the head of the world governing body of track and field known as World Athletics.

He also headed the 2012 London Olympics.

“Athletes are a part of the world and they want to reflect the world they live in,” Coe said. "For me, that part is perfectly acceptable as long as it is done with respect -- complete respect -- for other competitors, which I think most athletes properly understand.”

The Tokyo Games had to be postponed to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Coe is in the Japanese capital on a courtesy visit to Tokyo Olympics organizers. He met with its president Yoshiro Mori and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.

Tokyo is also the headquarters for the giant advertising company Dentsu Inc., which has been a major backer of World Athletics.

Coe pitched Tokyo as a possible venue for a future World Athletics world championship. Tokyo held the worlds in 1991, and Osaka was the host city in 2007.

“We don’t know what will happen in the next few months,” Coe said. "We are absolutely committed to work with the organizing committee for the delivery of a fantastic games. There may have to be some adaptations. There may need to be some differences. But I’m absolutely convinced that even under those circumstances they will still be fantastic games.”

(10/08/2020) Views: 501 ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 mass race cancelled

The Local Organising Committee of the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 has today announced that Covid-19-related health and safety restrictions have forced the cancellation of the mass participation race that was to accompany the elite championships on 17 October.

A record number of more than 27,000 amateur runners had registered to compete on the streets of Gdynia. Instead they will be offered the opportunity to join a virtual competition with the goal of participating in the world’s largest individual half marathon.

The #AllYouNeedIsRunning project has already been endorsed by running and athletics greats including Eilish McColgan, Stefano Baldini, Marek Plawgo, Robert Korzeniowski and the President of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe.

Since the beginning of March, when the event was postponed from 29 March to 17 October, intensive discussions and efforts have been made to find a solution that would enable the Local Organising Committee to hold the event in its original format, featuring both the championships race and the record-breaking mass race.

A comprehensive document outlining modifications to the event setup and extra safety procedures was created and presented to the Polish government and relevant healthcare and sanitary bodies.

Unfortunately, holding a mass race for thousands of runners proved to be impossible in the current circumstances.

World Athletics and the LOC continue to prepare for the elite championships and will make a final decision on their future as soon as possible.

“Surely, that’s not how we imagined the outcome of three years of preparations to this event,” said Michal Drelich, head of the LOC. “I would like to thank the entire team and our partners from World Athletics and the host city of Gdynia for their incredible effort to develop alternative event formats, race courses and new procedures that were supposed to make both the elite run and the mass race happen in the safest possible way, with massively enhanced social distance and minimised touchpoints between athletes, staff and volunteers.

“However, under the current restrictions regarding mass participation events and seeing no perspective for these to be released soon, we are forced to cancel the mass race. We have postponed this decision as long as possible but now it is time to accept the reality. Our efforts are now focused on the virtual mass race and doing whatever it takes to stage the elite competition.”

Registered mass race runners are invited to join the virtual competition with their starting kits – including bib number, official Asics t-shirt, official event backpack and the unique finisher medal – planned to be shipped to them successively in the coming weeks.

The virtual race is also open for new running enthusiasts from all over the world. You only have to create your account on the newly launched platform at www.AllYouNeedIsRunning.com.

Joining the race is free of charge but you can purchase a medal, t-shirt or other merchandise items as an option. Additionally, a loyalty program and three months of complimentary subscription to TIDAL and Runkeeper Premium are offered to registered runners.

Drelich said that despite the difficult and frustrating situation, organisers want to show that #AllYouNeedIsRunning.

“We are runners ourselves,” Drelich said. “We miss spectacular events which not only give us motivation but also allow us to meet friends and deliver all those positive emotions. In the recent months, it was often going out for running session that made us refresh our brains and focus on our goals. We truly hope that 17 October, despite all the adversity, will be a great exhibition of love for running. Wherever you are on that day, let’s run together.

(09/13/2020) Views: 589 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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World Athletics incurred $17.4m loss in 2019, despite RusAF payment

World Athletics registered a loss of $17.42m (€14.71m/£13.58m) in 2019, further eating into its cash reserves in the year before the Covid-19 pandemic struck the sports industry.

Although revenues at the organisation increased by 13 per cent on the previous year to $51.1m, this was outstripped by expenditure for the same period, which stood at $67.8m.

The losses could have been worse had the organisation not received a one-off payment of $3.38m from the Russian Athletics Federation as part of the sanctions imposed on the country for breaching the sport’s anti-doping rules. The bottom line was also helped by expenditure being down 5.5 per cent on the previous year due to having held just three World Athletics Series events versus five in 2018.

The figures continue an unenviable sequence of losses for the organisation, leaving it with cash reserves of $34.3m at the end of its four-year funding cycle. This was a significant decrease on 2018, when reserves stood at $45.25m, and 2017, when they were declared at $64.8m, leaving the impression of a federation that is consistently spending beyond its means.

Broadcast rights revenue in 2019 totalled $14.7m, while commercial rights revenue was $18m.

A global federation would expect to balance the books over a four-year cycle but the organisation is also reported to have incurred a $20.3m loss in 2017, the year the World Athletics Championships were held in London.

SportBusiness understands the federation has historically aimed to never to exceed a $10m loss in any financial year, the equivalent of the amount it receives each year in funding from the International Olympic Committee.

The steep downward trajectory becomes more troubling given the accounts refer to the period before Covid-19 laid waste to sports events around the world and threatened the cash flows of most global sports federations.

The postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics means the athletics federation is facing an additional one-year wait for the $40m it receives every quadrennial from the International Olympic Committee and it remains to be seen what kind of event will be delivered and if the IOC’s sponsors and broadcasters will demand rebates.

World Athletics is one of several IFs to receive a portion of $63m in emergency loans and donations from the IOC to see them through the crisis. The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) said in June that it does not anticipate international federations will face bankruptcy thanks to a combination of financial support and reserves being put in place.

In its latest accounts, World Athletics make a commitment to stem the outflow of money from its reserves from 2020 onwards saying: “to safeguard the organisation, the new Executive Board has agreed that the organisation should hold reserves of $25m at all times, which amounts to approximately 50 per cent of the organisation’s annual revenue”.

In his introduction to the annual report World Athletics president Sebastian Coe suggests the organisation will try to achieve this by controlling its costs and striking new commercial partnerships.

“A root-and-branch review of all HQ expenditure during 2018 and 2019 led to HQ staff freezes and excess costs cut from across the organisation,” he said. “The benefits of many of these decisions will be seen from 2020 onwards.”

A World Athletics spokesperson said there had been no cuts to athlete programmes in 2020 and the organisation did not anticipate reducing spending in this area in 2021 or 2022. World Athletics said it delivered US$17.2m in new grant funding directly to member federations over the four-year cycle.

Dentsu renegotiations

Coe said a new sponsorship deal with Qatar National Bank and a renegotiation of the federations’ 10-year global media and marketing partnership with Japanese marketing agency Dentsu had helped to plug revenue shortfalls left by other sponsors leaving the sport.

As reported previously by SportBusiness, the original 10-year deal with Dentsu, agreed unilaterally by former president Lamine Diack, and covering the global media and marketing rights – excluding Japan and Europe – to the World Athletics Series, was the source of some consternation for those who inherited the deal at the organisation.

In a written exchange with a French judge investigating the previous regime, the federation’s own lawyer Régis Bergonzi complained that the money accruing to the global federation was calculated “solely on the money actually received by Dentsu” and there was effectively nothing in the contract to prevent the agency from declaring whatever it wanted when calculating the profit share.

The agreement also stipulated that profit share revenues were only payable to World Athletics at the end of the 10-year contract, harming the federation’s cash flows and adding to the sense that the contract that was heavily weighted in the agency’s favour. The deal is understood to have been the reason Olivier Gers resigned as chief executive of the organisation in 2018, citing its ‘pre-existing commercial framework’.

The new leadership at the governing body, mandated by the World Athletics Council, renegotiated the 2020-29 contract in 2018, sometime after Gers left, even though it was not due to expire until 2029. The latest accounts shed new light on this renegotiation and reveal that Dentsu now has to make a profit share payment every two years “based on the surplus realised each year by the event related to these rights”. This led to a recognition of a contract asset of $8.4m as of January 1, 2018 which was paid during the 2018 financial year.

The federation had also previously complained about the opacity of the original Dentsu agreement which prevented it from auditing the sums involved in the sponsorship and broadcast deals signed by the agency. But a World Athletics spokesperson said the federation had secured some significant concessions in the renegotiation.

“As part of the renegotiated deal with Dentsu, there is greater transparency as it relates to sponsorship incomes received. Unlike the past, there is no deduction for expenses incurred by Dentsu to source these partnerships from the profit share pool,” the spokesperson said. “Profit share calculation is based on contracted party revenues that are validated between Dentsu and ourselves. While not formally audited, the calculation is also reviewed by [accountants] EY before they sign off on our accounts.”

The report said the Japanese agency concluded 10-year renewals with TDK, Asics and Seiko at an uplift of 10 per cent to their previous deals and renewed the organisation’s equipment supplier partnership with Mondo through to 2023. TBS, a World Athletics official media partner, were also extended in 2019 for a further 10 years.

The publication of the financial report also marks a new chapter of transparency for World Athletics and the first occasion it has sought to comply with International Financial Reporting Standards. Previously, the media has been left to parse leaked financial statements such as the 2018 set of accounts revealed by the Sports Examiner in June this year.

Coe said the appointment of former DuPont executive Vineesh Kochhar as the organisation’s new chief financial officer would bring a new discipline of corporate financial management. He added that new chief executive Jon Ridgeon would also help to drive revenues and manage expenditure.

The president said of the results: “These 2019 consolidated financial accounts come at the end of a tough and turbulent four years for our sport. Four years of extensive reforms across the sport have been driven by our Council and implemented by our Member Federations, Area Associations and Head Office.

“I will not pretend this has been easy. Tough decisions have been taken by everyone at all levels of the sport, but I believe we have emerged stronger, more resilient and ready to build and grow the sport at every entry point.”

This story was corrected at 14.51 BST. The original story said World Athletics received $6.31m from RusAF in 2019 related to doping sanctions but the actual figure was $3.38m. The governing body received a further $6.31m from the Russian federation in August this year that will be recognised in next year’s accounts. 

(09/12/2020) Views: 420 ⚡AMP
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The World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 mass race cancelled

The Local Organizing Committee of the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 has today announced that Covid-19-related health and safety restrictions have forced the cancellation of the mass participation race that was to accompany the elite championships on October 17.

A record number of more than 27,000 amateur runners had registered to compete on the streets of Gdynia. Instead they will be offered the opportunity to join a virtual competition with the goal of participating in the world’s largest individual half marathon.

The #AllYouNeedIsRunning project has already been endorsed by running and athletics greats including Eilish McColgan, Stefano Baldini, Marek Plawgo, Robert Korzeniowski and the President of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe.

Since the beginning of March, when the event was postponed from 29 March to 17 October, intensive discussions and efforts have been made to find a solution that would enable the Local Organizing Committee to hold the event in its original format, featuring both the championships race and the record-breaking mass race.

A comprehensive document outlining modifications to the event setup and extra safety procedures was created and presented to the Polish government and relevant healthcare and sanitary bodies.

Unfortunately, holding a mass race for thousands of runners proved to be impossible in the current circumstances.

World Athletics and the LOC continue to prepare for the elite championships and will make a final decision on their future as soon as possible.

“Surely, that’s not how we imagined the outcome of three years of preparations to this event,” said Michal Drelich, head of the LOC. “I would like to thank the entire team and our partners from World Athletics and the host city of Gdynia for their incredible effort to develop alternative event formats, race courses and new procedures that were supposed to make both the elite run and the mass race happen in the safest possible way, with massively enhanced social distance and minimized touchpoints between athletes, staff and volunteers.

“However, under the current restrictions regarding mass participation events and seeing no perspective for these to be released soon, we are forced to cancel the mass race. We have postponed this decision as long as possible but now it is time to accept the reality. Our efforts are now focused on the virtual mass race and doing whatever it takes to stage the elite competition.”

Registered mass race runners are invited to join the virtual competition with their starting kits – including bib number, official Asics t-shirt, official event backpack and the unique finisher medal – planned to be shipped to them successively in the coming weeks.

The virtual race is also open for new running enthusiasts from all over the world. You only have to create your account on the newly launched platform at www.AllYouNeedIsRunning.com.

Joining the race is free of charge but you can purchase a medal, t-shirt or other merchandise items as an option. Additionally, a loyalty program and three months of complimentary subscription to TIDAL and Runkeeper Premium are offered to registered runners.

Drelich said that despite the difficult and frustrating situation, organizers want to show that #AllYouNeedIsRunning.

“We are runners ourselves,” Drelich said. “We miss spectacular events which not only give us motivation but also allow us to meet friends and deliver all those positive emotions. In the recent months, it was often going out for running session that made us refresh our brains and focus on our goals. We truly hope that 17 October, despite all the adversity, will be a great exhibition of love for running. Wherever you are on that day, let’s run together.

(08/31/2020) Views: 580 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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World Half Marathon Championships

World Half Marathon Championships

The Chinese city of Yangzhou will host the 2022 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships. China, one of the fastest-growing markets in road running, had 24 World Athletics Label road races in 2019, more than any other country. It hosted the World Half Marathon Championships in 2010 in Nanning and will stage the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing in 2021. ...

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European champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen from Norway set his second European record of the season in the 1500m with 3:28.68 in the Monaco Diamond League on Friday

After breaking the European 2000m record with 4:50.01 at the Impossible Games in Oslo where he had the advantage of being paced by his brothers, Ingebrigtsen was racing against not only his older brother Filip but also the reigning world champion Timothy Cheruiyot from Kenya who was decisively beaten by the Ingebrigtsens in the virtual head-to-head clash between Oslo and Nairobi.

Aided by his training partners who were acting as his pacemakers, Cheruiyot blazed through the early stages in an unfathomably fast pace on his unofficial season’s debut. These exertions appeared to be catching up on the world champion as the pack closed up on Cheruiyot at the bell with Ingebrigtsen looming into view and Great Britain’s Jake Wightman also rounding into contention.

Ingebrigtsen was in position to strike off the final bend but the forward-leaning Cheruiyot kicked away again, holding the Norwegian off to win in a world leading 3:28.45 after an overly exuberant first 400 meters of 52.59. In contrast Ingebrigtsen ran a much more steady paced race and was rewarded with a phenomenally fast time of 3:28.68.

Ingebrigtsen’s time eclipsed Mo Farah’s European record of 3:28.81 which was set in the same stadium seven years ago and the teenager moves to eighth on the world all-time list which is still headed by Hicham El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26.00.

“I felt like I kept the same pace...going from 3:30 to 3:28 it's double the achievement. It's crazy,” said Ingebrigtsen whose previous lifetime best stood at 3:30.16.

Ingebrigtsen was gearing up for not only his Olympic debut in Tokyo as well as the now-cancelled European Championships in Paris where more continental honors must have surely beckoned. Despite the decimation of the summer calendar due to the coronavirus pandemic, motivation has by no means been lacking for the ebullient and popular Norwegian.

“This year I have been doing every session, I never skipped a single one because I was very motivated after Doha. That's why I can run this fast. It's unbelievable to run this fast in one race. It's one shot, one chance,” he said.

The Stade Louis II Stadium is the foremost venue for middle distance runners searching for fast times. Behind Ingebrigtsen, Wightman moved to fourth on the European all-time list - ahead of both Sebastian Coe (3:29.77) and Steve Cram (3:29.67) among others - with a marvelous lifetime best of 3:29.47.

Filip Ingebrigtsen, who had to concede the family record of 3:30.01 to Jakob tonight, almost matched his lifetime best with 3:30.35 in fourth. Reigning European indoor champion Marcin Lewandowski from Poland was seventh in 3:33.99.

(08/15/2020) Views: 577 ⚡AMP
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World Athletics amends Olympic qualification timeline for road athletes

Marathoners and race walkers will be able to qualify for Tokyo 2021 as of September 1

World Athletics announced the suspension of Olympic qualification for all athletes until December 1. On Tuesday, this was officially amended for road athletes, and now marathoners and race walkers will be able to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics as of September 1. The reason for this change is simply due to the limited number of qualifying opportunities for these athletes ahead of May 31, when the qualification period ends. As it stands now, track and field athletes will still have to wait until December to qualify for the 2021 Olympic Games.

Olympic qualifying

When discussing the decision to move the start of the qualification period up to September, Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, noted the lack of mass participation road races around the world due to COVID-19.

Most of the major marathons have already been cancelled or postponed for the remainder of this year and the evolution of the pandemic makes it difficult to predict if those scheduled for the first half of next year will be able to go ahead,” Coe said. He added that marathoners and race walkers cannot be expected to compete as often as track athletes who run shorter distances and still produce high-quality times that would qualify them for Tokyo. He said the qualifying window for road athletes would be “really narrow … without this adjustment.”

Along with the suspending Olympic qualification back in April, World Athletics froze the world rankings until December 1. These will remain frozen as originally planned, although world records are still up for grabs, as long as they’re ratifiable.

World Athletics can amend the qualification period, but that doesn’t mean mass participation road races will suddenly start to pop up once again. In the announcement released on Tuesday, several racing opportunities are outlined, the biggest of which is the London Marathon. The last World Marathon Major standing, the London Marathon is set for October 4, and organizers have refused to cancel even as the coronavirus pandemic persists around the world.

The statement says London Marathon organizers are working with World Athletics to ensure athletes will have a chance to qualify for Tokyo 2021. Whether this means the event will be an elite-only run is unclear, but a decision regarding the fate of the race is expected within the next week.

World Athletics is also working closely with the Abu Dhabi Marathon with the hope that they can provide athletes with another qualification opportunity before the end of the year. For race walkers, two major race walking events are expected to be held between the September 1 and November 30.

Many Canadians have yet to qualify, but Athletics Canada has already confirmed that marathoners Dayna Pidhoresky and Trevor Hofbauer and race walker Evan Dunfee have guaranteed spots for Tokyo. The rest of the Canadian team will be announced next June.

(08/09/2020) Views: 454 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Paris 2024 could feature a mixed cross-country relay

Cross-country hasn't been included in the Olympics since the 1924 Games

World Athletics has announced plans to include a cross-country mixed relay event in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Cross-country hasn’t been featured in the Olympics for almost a century, and it was last included in the 1924 Olympics, which were also in Paris. If the Paris 2024 organizing committee and World Athletics can work out a plan for the mixed relay, cross-country will make its return to the Games 100 years since its last competition and in the same city.

The event would feature 15 countries, and each team would be made up of four runners (two men and two women). The race would be 20K, and the teams would alternate between male and female runners, with each athlete covering two laps of a 2.5K course.

The president of World Athletics Sebastian Coe has expressed his excitement for a potential Olympic cross-country event. “My love for athletics began with cross-country,’’ he said. “When I joined my first athletics club, Hallamshire Harriers, the club president was Joe Williams, who ran in the last Olympic cross-country race in Paris in 1924. It would be hugely symbolic for this wonderful athletic discipline to return to the fold after a century.”

As of July 26, the Paris Games are just four years away, and an additional running event would be welcome news for Olympic hopefuls around the world. World Athletics officials and Paris 2024 organizers will reportedly meet soon to discuss more details for the prospective relay.

(08/09/2020) Views: 414 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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New dates set for World Athletics Series events postponed due to the global Covid-19 pandemic

The World Athletics Council has approved new dates for the World U20 Championships Nairobi 2020 and the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships Minsk 2020.

The World U20 Championships will now be held in Nairobi, Kenya from 17 to 22 August, 2021, one week after the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Under the competition’s rules, athletes aged 16, 17, 18 or 19 years on 31 December, 2021 will be eligible to compete.

The World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships have been rescheduled for 23-24 April, 2022 in Minsk, Belarus.

The World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Yangzhou 2022 have also had a small date change, moving back one week, from 20 March, 2022, to 27 March 2022.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said: “The disruption caused by the global pandemic has made it more difficult to schedule international events over the next two years but we want to give as much certainty as we can to our athletes, Member Federations, host cities and partners. We have done our best to choose dates that we believe are achievable and offer the best chance for our athletes and event hosts to shine on the international stage.”

Bathurst World Cross Country organisers request alternative dates

World Athletics has also updated the Council on conversations with organisers of the World Athletics Cross Country Championships Bathurst 2021 to explore alternative dates for the event.

This is due to ongoing travel and gathering restrictions resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic and the measures currently implemented within Australia to contain it. This includes the closure of Australia’s international borders.

The Board of the Local Organising Committee, World Athletics Cross Country Championships Bathurst 2021, the Athletics Australia board and the New South Wales Government have reinforced their strong desire to host this World Championship and have asked World Athletics to postpone the event to a future date to be determined.

World Athletics will work closely with all stakeholders in Australia to explore the feasibility of other dates. At this time the event remains in the calendar for 20 March 2021.

National championships windows, 2021-2024

In an effort to assist long-term planning for the athletes and Member Federations and in line with the Global Calendar Hierarchy, the Global Calendar Unit has agreed on the following national championships protected windows from 2021-2024.

2021

Protected national championships window 1 - 5-6 June

Protected national championships window 2 - 26-27 June

2022

Protected national championships window - 25-26 June

2023

Protected national championships window 1 - 8-9 July

Protected national championships window 2 - 29-30 July

2024

Protected national championships window 1 - 8-9 June

Protected national championships window 2 - 29-30 June

(08/02/2020) Views: 550 ⚡AMP
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