World governing body has introduced world rankings as main route to major championships

The IAAF has published its qualification system for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with exactly two years to go until athletics action gets under way in the Japanese capital.

The qualification system was approved at the IAAF Council meeting in Buenos Aires last week and the document – available to download here – includes details of the entry numbers for each discipline and the qualification timeline.

Athletes can qualify in one of two ways:

  • By virtue of their IAAF world ranking position at the end of the qualification period
  • Achieving the entry standard within the qualification period

Entry standards will be approved and published later this year, but the world governing body highlights that the standards will be set for the sole purpose of qualifying athletes with exceptional performances unable to qualify through the IAAF world rankings pathway.

For the 10,000m, marathon, race walks, combined events and relays, the qualification period runs from January 1, 2019, to June 29, 2020.

For all other events, the qualification period runs from July 1, 2019, to June 29, 2020.

Plans for the first official ‘IAAF World Rankings’ as a qualification mechanism to drive the sport’s annual competition system were announced in November last year.

Then described by the world governing body as the “first step in fundamental changes in athletics”, the rankings system forms part of the IAAF Reforms introduced by president Seb Coe at the end of 2016 “to help athletes and fans better compete and follow the sport they love”.

While this means a switch from standards to ranking when it comes to qualification for major competition, national member federations will still select their teams from athletes to have qualified, as is currently the case.

The International Olympic Committee Executive Board approved the competition schedule for the 2020 Olympic Games earlier this month. The schedule can be found here.

The marathon and race walk routes were revealed in May.