World Athletics reveals details of 2020 Continental Tour

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

World Athletics, the global governing body for athletics, has revealed details of its 2020 Continental Tour, a new annual second-tier of one-day meetings that will focus on the disciplines that don’t feature regularly in the Diamond League.

The Tour details were unveiled after a World Athletics Council meeting in Monaco, at which the dates for the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest were also changed and three new members were appointed to the organisation’s executive board.

The Continental Tour will be divided into three tiers: Gold, Silver and Bronze, with an event’s status determined by the quality of competition and prize money on offer. The events will focus on the ‘core disciplines’ of 200m sprint, 3000m steeplechase, triple jump, discus throw and hammer throw. Other ‘discretionary disciplines’ will also feature in the events.

Gold-level events will be run by World Athletics. Regional athletics associations will manage the Silver and Bronze competitions, which will number up to 100 globally each year.

WA is aiming for 10 gold events next year. The first will be held on May 10 in Tokyo, followed by:

  • 13 May: Nanjing, China
  • 22 May: Ostrava, Czech Republic
  • 1 June: Hengelo, The Netherlands
  • 9 June: Turku, Finland,
  • 13 June: Kingston, Jamaica
  • 7 July: Szekesfehervar, Hungary
  • 6 September: Silesia, Poland
  • 15 September: Zagreb, Croatia

Discussions are being held for the tenth event to be held in Nairobi.

Host broadcasters have been appointed for each event. The Infront agency has been appointed to sell the international media rights for the Tour under a ten-year deal that also covers the Diamond League.

Each gold event will award $200,000 (€181,000) in prize money. There will be $20,000 to be won in each core discipline – compared to $32,800 in the Diamond League – with $6,000 for the winner.

Ranking points for the core disciplines will be allotted at the same level as in the Diamond League.

Wildcard entries to the World Athletics Championships in Oregon in 2021 will be on offer for the best athletes in the core disciplines.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said: “We are kick starting our campaign to build more quality one-day meetings around the world with the new Continental Tour, which will give more athletes more opportunities to compete across all disciplines, to earn prize money and world rankings points and to build their profiles.

“Between the Diamond League and the Continental Tour, all disciplines will be catered for and many more athletes will have access to top-class competition. Those that have not been included in the Diamond League final next year will be core disciplines on the Continental Tour.”

World Athletics Championships date change

The World Athletics Council approved changing the dates of the 2023 World Athletics Championships to 19-27 August. The event was originally scheduled for 26 August to 3 September.

The three new members appointed to the World Athletics Executive Board are:

  • Hasan Arat – a Turkish former professional basketball player, the vice president of the Turkish Olympic Committee, an executive committee member of the European Olympic Committee, and vice chairman of Beymen, Turkey’s largest retail group.
  • Abby Hoffman – represented Canada in middle-distance events at four Olympic Games, a World Athletics Council member since 1995, chair of the World Athletics Competition Commission from 2015 to 2019, and current assistant deputy minister for the Strategic Policy Branch for Health Canada.
  • Sunil Sabharwal – a three-time winner of the NCAA All-American fencing title, secretary general of the International Fair Play Committee since 2003, US Olympic fencing team Chief de Mission in 2008, and a member of the International Olympic Committee commission on sustainability and legacy since 2000.

Three of the nine members of the WA executive board are appointed rather than elected to ensure the body has a diversity of skills, expertise, gender and geographical representation. Other members of the board include World Athletics president Sebastian Coe, senior vice president Sergey Bubka, vice presidents Nawaf Bin Mohammed Al Saud, Geoff Gardner, Ximena Restrepo, and chief executive Jon Ridgeon in a non-voting role.

The board governs World Athletics’ business, including taking responsibility for the annual plan and budget, risks and compliance, and organisational policies, procedures and systems.

At the council meeting, a 10-year sustainability strategy and plan was approved that will be released publicly in early 2020.