World Athletics announces today the qualification period for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is suspended effective from 6 April 2020 until 30 November 2020 included, following consultation with its Athletes’ Commission, Area Presidents and Council.

During this period, results achieved at any competition will not be considered for Tokyo 2020 entry standards or world rankings, the publication of which will also be suspended.

Results will continue to be recorded for statistical purposes, including for world records, subject to the applicable conditions. But they will not be used to establish an athlete’s qualification status.

Subject to the global situation returning to normal, the qualification period will resume on 1 December 2020 and continue to the new qualification deadline in 2021 set by the International Olympic Committee (see qualification period table at the end). The total qualification period, which started in 2019, will be four months longer than it was originally.

Commenting on the decision, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “I am grateful for the detailed work and feedback from our Athletes’ Commission and Council who believe suspending Olympic qualification during this period 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 for athletes given the challenges of international travel and government border restrictions.”

Athletes who have already met the entry standard since the start of the qualification period in 2019 remain qualified and will be eligible for selection by their respective Member Federations and National Olympic Committees, together with the other athletes who will qualify within the extended qualification period. The end of the Olympic qualification periods are 31 May 2021 (for 50km race walk and marathon) and 29 June 2021 for all other events.

Overall duration of the qualification period

Qualification starting dates for entry standards and world rankings remain unchanged with many athletes already qualified by meeting the entry standards during 2019. With the qualification period from 1 December 2020 to 31 May 2021 (or 29 June 2021 depending on the event) the eligible qualification period (taking into account the eight-month suspension period) is longer than the original period by an additional four months. See summary below:

Events Entry standards period World rankings period
Marathon, 50km race walk 1 January 2019 – 5 April 2020
1 December 2020 – 31 May 2021

21 months

1 December 2018 – 5 April 2020
1 December 2020 – 31 May 2021

22 months

10,000m, 20km race walk, combined events 1 January 2019 – 5 April 2020
1 December 2020 – 29 June 2021

22 months

1 January 2019 – 5 April 2020
1 December 2020 – 29 June 2021

22 months

All other events 1 May 2019 – 5 April 2020
1 December 2020 – 29 June 2021

18 months

30 June 2019 – 5 April 2020
1 December 2020 – 29 June 2021

16 months


Temporary furlough decision

World Athletics also announced today its decision to furlough temporarily 50% of its HQ staff effective today in order to secure jobs for the long term. All staff on furlough will continue to receive their full salary.

The decision, which was approved by the Executive Board yesterday, has been made due to the temporary postponement of World Athletics Series events and many development activities around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the strict self-isolation regulations in Monaco and France, where the majority of World Athletics’ HQ staff are based.

World Athletics will access Monaco Government’s generous scheme to support businesses based in the Principality. This scheme allows organisations to temporarily reduce the working hours of staff who are unable, through no fault of their own, to carry out their roles to full effect. World Athletics will temporarily suspend parts of the organisation, primarily those areas which are heavily event driven, and put individuals on temporary leave until the offices are officially able to reopen. The Monaco Government will contribute 70% of the gross salaries of staff on furlough and World Athletics will fund the remainder.

Commenting on this decision, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “We need to reflect current realities and the uncertainty of the global situation we find ourselves in, particularly the business environment where due to COVID-19 crises, normal business practices are breaking down around the world. For many of our Member Federations and a lot of our athletes this is a ‘very real, very now’ issue. The income we receive is not ‘our’ money. We are custodians of granted funds, which may well be disrupted this year, to spend on the development and delivery of athletics across the globe so we are always diligent and responsible with our finances.

“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 cashflow effectively and protect jobs in the long term.

“All World Athletics HQ staff will remain on their full salaries during this period with the organisation topping up the Monaco Government’s contribution. We have taken care to ensure the support and services we provide to our Member Federations, Areas, partners, stakeholders, athletes and the wider athletics community remain in place with a reduced team.

“These are tough times for everyone and I want to thank my whole team for positively embracing working from home some four weeks ago and those now entering furlough for what I hope is a short period of time to help us manage our business and our resources responsibly.”