New norms for Beijing 2015

New norms for Beijing 2015

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has announced a revamped system of qualification procedure for the 2015 World Athletics Championships in Beijing.

The new standards announced on Wednesday will make it tougher for Indian athletes to earn a qualification spot, with the IAAF having done away with the two sets of norms -- the tougher ‘A’ mark and the slightly less demanding ‘B’ -- that the countries used to enter athletes in previous competitions.

The IAAF, at its Council meeting in Monaco, stated that for Beijing 2015, only one standard will apply and apart from that, it will rely on invitations based on performance lists to fill an ideal number it had established to start in each event.

Even in events where they normally take part in the Worlds, the Indians will have to battle hard to meet the norms this time. For instance, in men’s discus throw, the standard is 65 metres. Vikas Gowda, India’s Asian and Commonwealth Games champion, had a season’s best of 65.62 this year and his personal best stands at 66.28 metres. Obviously, he needs to be close to his best to make it to Beijing.

In the women’s discus, where Seema Punia won the gold at the Asian Games, the road to Beijing seems slightly easier, with the standard set at 61.00 metres. Seema won the gold with an effort of 61.03 metres at Incheon and her personal best stands at 64.84 metres.

Tintu Luka, another of India’s medal winners at Incheon, however, has already sealed her spot for Beijing with her Asiad time of 1:59.19 in the 800 metres. The standard for Beijing is 2:01.00 and luckily for Tintu, the qualification period started from October 1, 2014, the day she won the Asiad silver. Seema, however, will have to qualify, for her gold medal effort that went past the qualifying mark had come on September 29!

In the women’s 400 metres, the standard is 52.00 seconds, and India’s top quartermiler M R Poovamma, with a personal best of 51.75, will be looking to meet it during the qualification period that ends on August 10, 2015.

The qualification period for 10000M, race walks, combined events and relays commenced on January 1, 2014, and the Indian relay team that won the Asiad gold should be looking to seal a spot at Beijing. For relays, the top eight at this year’s World Relays in Bahamas and eight other teams based on their rankings will make it through. A clutch of Indian race walkers too will make it to the Worlds, having gone under the qualifying standard.

The continental champions, defending champions and Diamond race winners will continue to get automatic qualification spots. Meanwhile, the IAAF Council also decided to hold some morning finals at the Rio Olympics in 2016. A total of 13 finals will be held in the morning -- three race walks, two marathons and eight events in the stadium.

Standards in a few other events: Triple jump: Men: 16.90 metres; Women: 14.20. Long jump: Men: 8.10; Women: 6.70. Shot put: Men: 20.45 metres.