A series of one-day meetings of the Continental Tour Gold and Wanda Diamond Leagues between August and October is expected to form the cornerstone of the truncated 2020 athletics season. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has praised the collective efforts of all partners in putting together a substantial competition calendar for the remainder of the 2020 season.

WA announced an international athletics season of one-day meetings between August and October this year following the commitment of most Continental Tour Gold and Wanda Diamond League meeting directors to organise their events on re-scheduled dates during 2020.

In addition, a small number of nations will be able to stage meetings through June and July with Oslo’s Bislett Games leading the way with a competition in an altered format called ‘The Impossible Games’ on June 11.

The international season proper is likely to commence in earnest directly after the National Championships window of August 8-9 with the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, on August 11 – making it the first World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting of the year.

“As we have worked through the challenges posed by the pandemic and the disruption it has caused to our sport, as well as the wider community, our first priority was the health and safety of our athletes. And the next priority has been to find a way to get our professional athletes back into international competition this year as their incomes rely on this,” WA President Coe told media after the announcement of the calendar late on Tuesday.

“I’m delighted that it now looks like we will be able to offer these athletes a solid international season between August and October where they can earn prize money and assess their training progress in preparation for next year’s Olympic Games, although we know this will not be easy for everyone,” he added.

I’m delighted that it now looks like we will be able to offer these athletes a solid international season between August and October where they can earn prize money and assess their training progress in preparation for next year’s Olympic Games

- Sebastian Coe

“Inevitably, international travel restrictions will affect the ability of some athletes to attend some meetings. But we hope that there will be a wide enough range of meetings available for most elite athletes to access some competition before the end of the year,” Coe hoped.

Of the World Athletics Series events that were scheduled for 2020, only the World Half Marathon Championships will go ahead this year, on October 17, in Gdynia, Poland.

The World Indoor Championships to be held in Nanjing will stay on schedule for March 19-21, 2021, but the World U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya and the World Race Walking Team Championships in Minsk, Belarus are still in the process of being re-scheduled for later dates.

Eight of the 10 Continental Tour Gold meetings originally scheduled for 2020 have been confirmed for this year, although many have been rescheduled to fall between August and October.

The schedule for one-day Wanda Diamond League meetings will begin with the Monaco competition on August 14 and continue through till the middle of October.

Due to the uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic, the Diamond League organisers have announced that these will be individual meetings and will not include a series point score. There will be hence no overall league winners for 2020 and the final that was scheduled to be held in Zurich is now cancelled.

The Nairobi meeting, originally planned to open the tour in May, has been rescheduled for September 26, and the Nanjing and Tokyo meetings are considering dates in September-October, but these have yet to be finalised.

Some Continental Tour Silver and Bronze meetings will also be able to go ahead, primarily as domestic competitions, starting with the Memorial Josefa Odlozila in Prague as early as on June 8.

A total prize money purse of at least $200,000 (Dhs 730,000) will be offered for each Gold meeting.

2020 international competition calendar

August 11: Turku – Continental Tour Gold; 14: Monaco – Wanda Diamond League; 16: Gateshead – Wanda Diamond League; 20: Szekesfehervar – Continental Tour Gold; 23: Stockholm – Wanda Diamond League.

September 2: Lausanne – Wanda Diamond League; 4: Brussels – Wanda Diamond League; 6: Paris (TBC) – Wanda Diamond League; 6: Silesia – Continental Tour Gold; 8: Ostrava – Continental Tour Gold; 15: Zagreb – Continental Tour Gold; 17: Rome/Naples – Wanda Diamond League; 19: Shanghai – Wanda Diamond League; 26: Nairobi – Continental Tour Gold.

October 4: Eugene – Wanda Diamond League; 9: Doha – Wanda Diamond League; 17: World Athletics Half Marathon Championships; 17: China (venue TBA) – Wanda Diamond League.

Notes: *Dates for the Continental Tour Gold meetings in Tokyo and Nanjing are still to be finalised.

**A number of marathons and road races have also been re-scheduled from earlier this year to later in the year so as to provide the road running community with a range of competition opportunities once the pandemic has passed.