World Athletics Council makes key decisions on Olympic cross country, competition dates
The World Athletics Council has confirmed the competition format for a cross country event to be included in the Olympic Games.
The event, which has been proposed for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, would be a mixed team relay for 15 countries.
Each team would be composed of two men and two women. Each member of the team would run two legs of the 2.5km course, alternating between male and female athletes as each athlete completes the 2.5km course and hands over to a teammate.
World Athletics will meet with the Paris 2024 organising committee in the near future to work out further details of the proposal.
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said he was delighted at the prospect of cross country returning to the Olympic Games 100 years after it last appeared at the 1924 Paris Games.
“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, and for a new generation of runners to fall in love with the glorious challenge of running off-piste.”
On the first day of the meeting, the Council also 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.” (World Athletics)