LONDON – The governing body of athletics has suspended Olympic qualification until December due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has forced the Tokyo Games to be postponed until 2021, it said on Tuesday.
"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 for the marathon and 50 kilometre race walk or June next year for all other events, it said.
The total qualification period, which started in 2019, will 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 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.
It said that the Monaco Government would contribute 70% of the gross salaries of staff on furlough and World Athletics will fund the remainder. "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," said Coe.