Results achieved between April 6 and December will not count as Tokyo 2020 entry marks or world rankings performances

World Athletics has announced that the qualification period for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has been suspended until the start of December, ruling out any results which might be recorded from April 6 to November 30.

During that period, performances will also not be considered for world rankings purposes.

Results will continue to be recorded for statistical purposes, including for world records, World Athletics added.

The global governing body also confirmed that 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, together with other athletes who qualify within the new qualification period.

Subject to the global situation returning to normal following the coronavirus pandemic, the qualification period will resume on December 1, 2020, and will run until May 31, 2021, for 50km race walk and marathon events and until June 29, 2021, for all other events.

“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,” said World Athletics president Sebastian Coe.

Some rescheduled events are currently set to fall within the window of suspension, meaning that results recorded at races such as the Virgin Money London Marathon, which is now due to take place on October 4 rather than April 26, will not count for Olympic qualification purposes.

There are still plans for the European Championships to take place in Paris in August too but should the event go ahead, performances achieved there would also not be considered as Olympic qualifying marks.

Britain’s Dai Greene was among the athletes to give reaction to the news on social media, with the 2011 world 400m hurdles gold medallist describing it as an “excellent decision”.

“Short term safety is more important than athletes having to make risky decisions to chase qualification marks later in the summer,” he added. “Takes a lot of pressure off during an already stressful time.”

While Britain’s European indoor 3000m silver medallist Chris O’Hare wrote: “European athletes still have to hit standards to qualify for European champs. Potential situation – An athlete runs an Olympic standard in a European Championship or British Championship (both apparently still going ahead) but it doesn’t count?”

On Tuesday World Athletics also announced its decision to furlough 50% of its HQ staff in order to secure jobs for the long term. The governing body added that all staff on furlough will continue to receive their full salary.

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