Tuesday, March 2, 2021
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Athletics in for a major change on resumption

The middle-distance runners taking off a few seconds apart, relay runners with gloves and probably even a lane’s gap between 100m runners. The World Athletics is considering a lot of options as it works on finding ways out of the mess created by the coronavirus pandemic and resume competition in August.

But clearly, athletics is in for a major change.

Not identical

“ It’s not going to look identical to traditional track and field for a few months,” said Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, in a video interaction, from London on Friday.

“If we have to bring back competition in the relays, we have to think about the baton going hand to hand, this could clearly be a source of infection. Would it not be possible to wear very light skin-tight gloves. I’m sure there are ways around this.

“The Italian federation sent me some very interesting ideas about how you could maintain distance in the 800 and 1500m, not necessarily by starting together but by starting may be five seconds apart and starting individually,” said Coe.

“We also recognise that the first few competitions may be held behind closed doors.”

Coe was also clear that despite the lockdown, dope cheats should not feel safe.

“Clearly, our testing procedures now are not what they were earlier. But I want to be clear: No athlete should assume that they are in lockdown and are free from it. So, continue to fill in your whereabouts. The days of adding up a number of tests is long gone. Intelligent testing and intelligent analysis are more important now than they have ever been and we’re able to do that.”

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