12 March 2019

Botswana: IAAF Approves Olympic Games Qualification Standards

Gaborone — World athletics governing body, IAAF has approved qualification standards for the Olympic Games that will be held in Tokyo, Japan next year.

In the 400m men category, which is Botswana's stronghold, athletes will have to dig deeper and clock 44.90 while women are expected to clock 51.35.

For the 800m men category, qualifying time is 1:45.20 while women is 1:59.50, while for 100m men, the time is 10.05 and 11.15 for women.

According to some pundits, the qualification standards will make it difficult for athletes from developing countries to qualify for the games.

Meanwhile, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation sport journalist, Daniel Wahome said the standards were extremely high.

However, Dahome said athletes still had the opportunity to qualify through the ranking system adding that they would have to do well in all the competitions and meetings they would take part in.

A 400m runner, he said had to be in top three in the Diamond League to gain the ranking points needed for Olympic Games automatic qualification.

Therefore, he said coaches had to improve on athletes' performance adding that sprints and field events had been made elite events.

Wahome pointed out that qualification by rank had been used in the past as eight finalists at the World Relays automatically qualified for the World Championships.

According to a press release from IAAF, athletes will have more opportunities to achieve the Olympic entry standards under the new system, which extends the qualification window by two months for most events.

"This will start on May 1 instead of July 1 to include more international competitions such as the IAAF Diamond League, and end on June 29, 2020," says the release.

It says after extensive consultation with key stakeholders, the council decided to introduce a dual qualification system, combining both the entry standards and the new world ranking system to determine, which athletes are eligible for Olympic selection in 2020.

According to the release, under the new qualification process, an athlete can qualify for the Olympics in one of two ways; by achieving the entry standard within the respective qualification period and qualify by virtue of their IAAF world ranking position in the selected event at the end of the respective qualification period.

The release says the process is designed to achieve about 50 per cent of the target numbers for each event through entry standards and the remaining 50 per cent through the IAAF World Ranking System.

The release further states that consulation with competition, athletes' and coaches' commissions was done before the decision was taken.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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