About 6,500 athletes who have already earned their spots for the Tokyo Games are in for next year under redrawn qualifying regulations published on Tuesday by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The IOC released its rewritten road map for qualifying for the Games, which were rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic to July 23 to Aug. 8 next year.
The new deadline for qualifying is June 29 next year and entry lists are due a week later. Individual international sports federations would still be in charge of their qualifying procedures.
Many sports allow athletes to qualify by compiling results over a series of events.
The IOC urged the federations to find a balance “between protecting those athletes who were close to qualifying based on the previous 2020 deadlines and also ensuring the best athletes at the Olympic Games” by taking into consideration performances next year.
The IOC announcement confirmed reports last week that the sports had agreed to let athletes keep spots they already had earned.
It clarified a number of points, including the need for boxing to relax a rule that sets the top age in the sport at 40. It also requires sports such as gymnastics to decide whether to allow athletes who would have been too young to compete this year to try to be eligible for next year.
“Athlete health is the guiding principle in the scheduling of any remaining Olympic qualification events,” the IOC said, urging sports not to confirm rescheduling until the effects of the novel coronavirus can be assessed.
Along those lines, World Athletics on Tuesday announced that it was shutting down all qualifying procedures through Nov. 30. Its new window for qualifying would run from Dec. 1 to June 29 next year.
“During this period, results achieved at any competition will not be considered for Tokyo 2020 entry standards or world rankings,” World Athletics said in a statement.
Qualification would restart on Dec. 1, subject to the global situation returning to normal, and continue until the end of May next year for the marathon and 50km race walk, or June next year for all other events, it said.
The total qualification period, which started last year, would be four months longer than it was originally. Meanwhile, results would continue to be recorded for statistical purposes, including for world records.
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said that the decision “gives more certainty for athlete planning and preparation, and is the best way to address fairness in what is expected to be the uneven delivery of competition opportunities across the globe.”
World Athletics also said that half of the staff at its Monaco headquarters would be furloughed on full pay.
The Monaco government would contribute 70 percent of the gross salaries of staff on furlough and World Athletics would fund the remainder, it said.
“This decision, made possible by the Monaco government, means we will focus only on business critical activities for the short term, which will help us manage our cash flow effectively and protect jobs in the long term,” Coe said.
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