Gdynia and Minsk to host 2020 World Athletics Series events – highlights of the first day of the 212th IAAF Council Meeting, chaired by IAAF President Sebastian Coe, was held today at Le Meridien hotel, Monaco.
IAAF World Half Marathon Championships 2020
The Polish port city of Gdynia which is part of the urban ‘Tricity’ with Gdansk and Sopot, the latter held the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships, was this afternoon awarded the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships 2020.
Running in Poland has seen tremendous growth in the last ten years. 6 million Poles run and there are 4500 running events staged annually, of which the half marathon is the most popular distance. The annual Gdynia Half Marathon is a IAAF Bronze Label Road Race.
Sebastian Coe commented: “We are always honoured when experienced member federations with proven organisational credentials and a strong athletics culture and tradition wish to host our competitions.
“Poland is a regular, well trusted host of IAAF World Athletics Series events and Gdynia’s bid application was very comprehensive and to the highest technical standards. Their intention to hold kids (‘Athletics For Everyone’) and mass races which attract young Poles to the sport and in association with the championships was very exciting.”
Piotr Dlugosielski – POL MF International Director, commented: “We are very thankful to the IAAF for putting their trust in us, this is the first time this event has been awarded to Poland. The new format, combining a mass event with elite athletes will help and boost our running movement in Poland. Our new project Athletics For Everyone, involves more than 100,000 children and it will be a big part of the World Half Marathon Championships.”
IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships 2020
Minsk, the capital and largest city of Belarus, was today awarded the right to host the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships 2020.
This will be the first occasion that Belarus has ever staged an IAAF World Athletics Series event.
Minsk staged this summer’s European 10,000m Cup competition and holds an annual half marathon.
Sebastian Coe commented: “I’m pleased that we are taking our world athletics series to another country for the first time which will help the development and profile of athletics. The city centre course makes this an attractive event for spectators to follow and their plan to hold kids’ race walking and an extreme mass race for adults, will assist the promotion by building a direct connection with the community.”
Vadim Devyatovskiy, BLR MF President commented: “We are very happy as this is our first experience with the IAAF (World Athletics Series) and we would like to integrate into the world athletics family. We hope that this event will be an important part of the history of athletics. We would like our youngsters, our teenagers and all other citizens of Belarus to take part in the (mass) race.”
Transfer of Allegiance – rules remain frozen
Following the decision of Council at their meeting on 6 February this year to freeze the transfer of allegiance process, the IAAF Working Group which was formed to consider the rules, has since met twice, in April and October.
The working group recommended that considering the complexity of the issues that were evident during their discussions, including a lack of understanding as to the key drivers behind some transfers, more work and time is required before making any proposals regarding amendments to Rule 5.
Further consultation is required with a broader range of stakeholders including athletes, Member Federations, agents, coaches and meeting directors and there is a need to seek clarity of the legal framework and scope.
This approach will help to ensure that any proposals relating to Rule 5 that are put to Council are robust and will best address the agreed principles and the rationale for the initial freeze.
Council agreed with the working group’s recommendation and therefore the existing rules remain frozen. They will review the situation again in March 2018, by which time its hoped that the group will be in a position to make firm proposals.
“With athletes’ welfare and the integrity of competitions at stake this is not a process which should be rushed,” commented Sebastian Coe. “We must get this right and if that requires further consultation, discussion and research then that will be time well spent to safeguard athletes’ safety and the sport’s credibility.”