The 2020 global schedule is on, and with the current pandemic, the juggling is key, and we will have to see how the sport navigates this new era with all of its challenges.
An international athletics season of one-day meetings is taking shape 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 rescheduled dates in 2020.
A small number of countries will be able to stage meetings through June and July (Oslo’s Bislett Games will go ahead in an altered format called The Impossible Games on 11 June), but the international season is likely to commence in earnest directly after the National Championships window of 8-9 August.
The first World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting of the year, the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, will be held on 11 August.
Eight of the ten 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 Nairobi meeting, originally planned to open the tour in May, has been rescheduled for 26 September, and the Nanjing and Tokyo meetings are considering dates in September-October, but these have yet to be finalised.
A total prize money purse of at least US$200,000 will be offered for each Gold meeting
Some Continental Tour Silver and Bronze meetings will also be able to go ahead, primarily as domestic competitions, starting from the Memorial Josefa Odlozila in Prague on 8 June.
As the Wanda Diamond League has announced today, its schedule of one-day meetings will begin with the Monaco meeting on 14 August and continue through until mid-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, so there will be no overall league winners this year and the final in Zurich will not be held.
The format of each Diamond League meeting and the disciplines included will be announced by each meeting organiser two months in advance.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has praised the cooperative efforts of the meeting organisers to work with World Athletics to put together a substantial competition season for the sport’s top athletes.
“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.
“I’m delighted that it now looks like we will be able to offer them 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.
“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.”
Of the World Athletics Series events that were scheduled for 2020, only the World Half Marathon Championships will go ahead this year, on 17 October in Gdynia, Poland.
The World Indoor Championships will be held in Nanjing, 19-21 March, 2021, but the World U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, and the World Race Walking Team Championships in Minsk, Belarus are still being rescheduled.
2020 international competition calendar:
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
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
4 Eugene – Wanda Diamond League
9 Doha – Wanda Diamond League
17 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships
17 China (venue tba) – Wanda Diamond League
Note: 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 rescheduled from earlier this year to later in the year which will provide the road running community with a range of competition opportunities.