Repechage round to replace fastest qualifiers at Paris 2024 – AW

World Athletics announce that an extra repechage round will replace fastest qualifiers at the Paris 2024 Olympics

An extra repechage round will replace those who gain qualification as fastest losers for individual track events from 200m to 1500m in distance, including the hurdles events, at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

It means that athletes who do not qualify automatically in the heats will have a second chance to qualify for the semi-finals by participating in a repechage round.

The format for Paris 2024 will therefore be: round one, repechage round, semi-finals and the final.

However, it has been pointed out that those athletes that get through the repechage will have less time to prepare for the subsequent rounds, against athletes that automatically qualified.

“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,” said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.

“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 reaction to the decision though has been rather negative.

“Not allowing fastest losers, forcing them to race amongst themselves again, said Dai Greene, 2011 world and 2010 Commonwealth 400m hurdles champion.

“How is an extra race going to help them be competitive in the semi final? They’ll still get the worst lanes and have an extra round in their legs.”

“This ‘repechage’ will put some athletes at a disadvantage by having to run an extra race, added Mark English, double Olympian and 2014 European 800m bronze medallist. “Alt solution? Just advance top 4 (which also promotes racing).”

“This creates way more problems than it solves,” said Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, double Olympian and Canadian national record holder over distances between 1500m and 5000m. “If we want to get away from little qs, this doesn’t solve the issue in the events where time qs are the most unpredictable, the steeple and 5k. I’d love to see what athletes think this approach is a good idea.”

The ball is now in World Athletics’ court to see if this decision will stand.

Based on the response from both ex and current athletes, it may be likely the new format is scrapped or amended.

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