IAAF shelves plans for rankings-based World Championships qualification

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Mike Rodgers, Reece Prescod, Christian Coleman and Yohan Blake at the 2018 Birmingham Diamond League. Photo: MV4R Photography.

The IAAF has put plans to change the way athletes qualify for the World Championships on hold, because “uncertainty remains” about a move to a points-based system.

It had been proposed that new World Rankings, set to come in next season, would be the basis of securing a spot at the 2019 tournament, which will begin in September in Doha.

Traditionally, qualification in athletics has been based around obtaining one-off times, heights and distances.

The sports governing body has promised to extend a consultation, saying “there is still work to do” to convince federations and competitors that the new system is fair.

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Announced earlier this year, the rankings aim to make it clear who the best in the world are, helping to avoid controversies where the fastest athletes miss out on places in the biggest competitions after not succeeding at their national trials.

Famously, sprint hurdler Kendra Harrison (pictured above in Doha) set a new world record in 2016, but poor performance at the USA Track and Field Championships kept her out of the Olympic Games that summer.

Remaining committed to an eventual change President Sebastian Coe (below) said “we believe strongly that the World Rankings is the best way for athletes to qualify for our major championships in future”, but he admitted that “implementing change takes time”.

In promising to continue to listen to athletes, coaches and organisations within the sport, the IAAF says rankings will be introduced as expected for the 2019 season so people can “become more familiar with the process before they become the primary qualifying route” for occasions like the biennial World Championships, which last took place in London in 2017.

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A panel will now meet in December to approve a more familiar set of qualification rules including achieving the entry standard within a certain time frame and winning a national championship.

Wild cards also exist for reigning champions and winners of the 2019 IAAF Diamond League, while Top Performance Lists can be used when the target number of entrants exceeds those who have met the entry standard.

The relay teams have slightly different criteria. They can get a place via the IAAF World Relays Yokohama next May and via the top lists.

The IAAF World Athletics Championships will be held in Doha, Qatar from September 27 to October 6, 2019. High jumper Home favourite Mutaz Essa Barshim (below) will be hoping to defend the high jump title he won last year.

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First published on: 11 November, 2018 7:16 pm