IOC releases rewritten path to Tokyo, with already-qualified athletes still in

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About 6,500 athletes who already have earned their spots for the Tokyo Games are in for 2021 under redrawn qualifying regulations published Tuesday by the International Olympic Committee.

The IOC released its rewritten roadmap for qualifying for the games, which were rescheduled due to the coronavirus. They’ll be held July 23 through Aug. 8 next year.

The new deadline for qualifying is June 29, 2021, and entry lists are due a week later. Individual international sports federations will 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 in 2021.

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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’ve been too young to compete in 2020 to try to be eligible for 2021.

The IOC also said “athlete health is the guiding principle in the scheduling of any remaining Olympic qualification events.” It urged sports not to confirm rescheduling until the impacts of COVID-19 can be assessed.

Along those lines, World Athletics announced it was shutting down all qualifying procedures through Nov. 30. Its new window for qualifying will run from Dec. 1 through June 29, 2021.

World Athletics announces changes

Earlier Tuesday, World Athletics said suspended Olympic qualification because of the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of the Tokyo Games to 2021.

The governing body of track says no performances between April 5 and Nov. 30 will count toward Olympic qualification even if an athlete meets the standards.

The new period will run from Dec. 1 through to either May 31 or June 29.

The organization made the decision because it fears competitions will resume much earlier in some parts of the world than others and that will leave some athletes with more opportunities to qualify than others.

World Athletics also said it was placing 50 per cent of the staff at its Monaco headquarters on furlough. They will receive full pay under a Monaco government scheme.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe says the body “will focus only on business critical activities for the short term which will help us manage our cashflow effectively and protect jobs in the long term.”

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