The World Athletics Council has approved an innovation to the regular competition format for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, introducing a repechage round to all individual track events from 200m to 1500m in distance, including the hurdles events.
In the new repechage format, athletes who do not qualify by place in round one heats will have a second chance to qualify for the semi-finals by participating in repechage heats.
This will replace the former system of athletes advancing through the fastest times (q) in addition to the top placings in the first-round heats (Q).
These events will now have four rounds – round one, repechage round, semi-finals and the final, with schedules varying according to the specific nature of the event.
The new format means that every athlete competing in the events with a repechage round will have at least two races at the Olympic Games.
As the 100m already has preliminary heats, before round one, the repechage will not be introduced in this event. In addition, the repechage will not be introduced in distance events as the need for proper recovery between rounds makes the format impractical.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “After consulting with our athletes and broadcasters, we believe this is an innovation which will make progression in these events more straightforward for athletes and will build anticipation for fans and broadcasters. The repechage rounds will give more exposure to our sport during the peak Olympic period and will be carefully scheduled to ensure that every event on our Olympic programme retains its share of the spotlight.”
The final regulations of the format, including the timetable as well as a system of advancement in each event, will be announced well in advance of the Olympic Games.
The Council also approved entry standards for the 10,000m, marathon, combined events and race walk at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23, which will be held 19-27 August next year.
The entry standards are projected to provide 50% of the quota in each event and were determined by statistical analysis of recent years´ performance levels. The remaining quota in each event will qualify either through world rankings, finishing position at designated competitions or by wild card.
Also, it will be possible to qualify for the 10,000m through a 10km performance, and for world ranking purposes, the 10km road event is considered equal to the 10,000m.
In addition, the top eight athletes in the cross country rankings not qualified through entry standards or 10,000m world ranking, will be considered qualified for the 10,000m.
In the marathon, the top five finishers at the Platinum Label marathons held during the qualification period and the winners of the Gold Label marathons held in 2023 are all considered qualified for the marathon.
The detailed qualification system and the entry standards for the remaining events are currently being established and will follow when approved by Council.