World Athletics has put aside the weekend of 8-9 August 2020, as the protected window for national championships this year, following the disruption of the international competition calendar by the coronavirus pandemic.
The newly established Global Calendar Unit has engaged actively with Member Federations, Area Associations, meeting directors and the World Athletics Athletes’ Commission in order to identify this window, a weekend when no Wanda Diamond League or World Athletics Continental Tour meetings are scheduled to be held this year.
The purpose of creating a protected window is to allow athletes to be able to compete in their national championships without scheduling conflicts, and Member Federations are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity if it is safe for athletes to compete in August. This applies primarily to the Northern Hemisphere, which is in its outdoor season.
The Athletes’ Commission has advised that elite athletes have a strong desire to compete this year if possible, and World Athletics will do everything it can to conduct an international competition season later this year to assist athletes to prepare for the Tokyo Olympic Games next year.
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said: “None of us can predict the future in these unprecedented times but we do know that different countries are at different stages of managing this pandemic so we are trying to give a structure to our athletes and Member Federations so they can begin to plan for the year ahead. If it is at all possible, we will schedule a belated outdoor season from August to October to help our athletes to figure out where they stand after the disruption of this year.
“We are hopeful that this can begin with national championships in many Northern Hemisphere countries in early August as travel restrictions across country borders will not impact these events. This will be followed by what we hope will be a solid international season, but of course we are dependent on the global response to the pandemic. Nevertheless, we think it’s better to offer our stakeholders some hope of a return to normalcy later this year.”
The Global Calendar Unit continues to work with the Diamond League and Continental Tour to reschedule the rest of the 2020 season and an announcement is expected towards the end of April.
Because of the uncertainty surrounding the ability of all countries to resume competition at the same time or for athletes to have equal access to major competitions this year, the suspension of the Olympic qualification process will remain in place from 6 April to 30 November, 2020, as announced earlier this week.
This means that any results posted during this period will not be eligible for Olympic qualification or world ranking points.
Looking forward to next year, the Global Calendar Unit has agreed that the 2021 national championships protected windows will be on 5-6 June and 26-27 June, 2021, just prior to the end of the qualifying period for the Tokyo Olympic Games (June 29, 2021).