The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is to introduce a new 50km race walk competition for women at this year’s World Championships as part of a wider effort to create gender equality across the field of athletics.
The race is scheduled to start at the same time as the respective men’s event of the same distance on August 13, but will have separate results and prize money.
In order to complete the race, athletes taking part must start the final lap within a time limit of 4:17:00. The entry standard has been set at 4:30:00 and athletes have until July 25 to post this qualifying time.
Women had previously only competed in a 20km event at the Olympic Games and World Championships, with men’s events held across both 20km and 50km.
IAAF president Sebastian Coe said: “There has been equal prize money for men and women at the IAAF World Championships since the introduction of financial rewards in the early 1990s and this decision brings gender quality in terms of competition opportunity too.
“But we must acknowledge this has been a last-minute decision based upon the request of a small group of athletes. Therefore, to ensure the long-term credibility of the World Championships, we will follow the recommendation of the Race Walking Committee and assess the development of the event to determine whether there are sufficient numbers of athletes and countries legitimately interested.”
The 2017 IAAF World Championships will take place in London, England, from August 5-13.