IAAF Tightens Olympic Games Qualifying Standards


2016 USA Olympic Marathon Trials – Jared Ward, Galen Rupp & Meb
Los Angeles, CA Febuary 13, 2016
Photo: John Barnhart@PhotoRun

At the ongoing IAAF Council Meeting in Doha, the Council approved the athlete qualification system for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The new system will allow athletes to become eligible for Olympic selection using two different criteria:

. Achieve the qualification marks by discipline within the designated time window, OR

. Become eligible based on ranking under the new IAAF ranking system at the end of the designated time window

Individual event quotas cannot be exceeded, IAAF said. The total quota is 1900 athletes for athletics across all disciplines.

The qualification standards for marks are decidedly more difficult than those used for Rio in 2016. For instance, the 2020 qualification mark for the men’s 5000m is 13:13.50 compared with 13:25.00 in 2016. The new standard for the women’s marathon is 2:29:30, compared to 2:45:00 for 2016, a drastic difference.

“The process is designed to achieve about 50 percent of the target numbers for each event through entry standards and the remaining 50 percent through the IAAF World Ranking System,” a statement from the IAAF said.

For marathon runners there are additional ways to achieve qualification marks during the qualifying window besides making the 2:11:30 (male) or 2:29:30 (female) qualifying time (marks must be made on record-quality courses):

. Place in the top-10 of any Abbott World Marathon Majors (Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York, Tokyo)
. Place in the top-10 of the 2019 IAAF World Championships Marathon
. Place in the top-5 of any IAAF Gold Label marathon

Only 80 men and 80 women will be permitted to enter the Olympic Marathon, the quotas set by IAAF. In the Rio Olympic Marathon 155 men and 156 women started, meaning the Olympic Marathon Tokyo will be half the size as in Rio.

The qualification periods will be as follows:

. For Marathon and 50km Race Walk: 01-Jan-2019 through 31-May-2020

. 10,000m, 20km Race Walk and Combined Events: 01-Jan-2019 through 29-June-2020

. All other events: 01-May-2019 through 29-Jun-2020

Individual national governing bodies retain their power to select qualified athletes for their Olympic teams using their own systems (trials, committee, time list, etc.), but no more than three athletes per individual discipline can be selected per nation.

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