Press Release02 Jun 2021


Olympic qualification period ends for marathons and 50km race walk

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Marathon runners in action at the Olympic Games (© Getty Images)


With little more than eight weeks to go before athletics action gets under way at the Tokyo Olympic Games, the fields for the longest road events on the programme are taking shape.

The qualification period for marathons and the 50km race walk closed on 31 May. The Road to the Olympic Games tool on the World Athletics website shows which athletes – subject to being officially selected by their national Olympic committee – have qualified to compete in those disciplines in Japan.

Athletes could qualify in the marathon by either achieving the entry standard (2:11:30 for men, 2:29:30 for women), or by placing in the top 10 at the World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 or in Platinum Label marathons, or in the top five at Gold Label marathons.

Both marathons had a target number of 80 athletes, but a larger number of athletes have fulfilled the qualifying criteria and will compete in Sapporo, the host of the Olympic road events. In the men’s field 110 athletes have qualified (maximum three per nation) and in the women’s field 103 have qualified.

The entry standard for the men’s 50km race walk is 3:50:00. The target number is 60 athletes (maximum three per nation) and 38 athletes have met the entry standard, leaving 22 places for athletes who qualify by world ranking.

"It's exciting to see the athletes in our longest distance events complete their qualification for the Tokyo Olympic Games," said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe. "This is a considerable achievement in our sport and I congratulate all those who have met the standard. We’re pleased to see that the qualifying process, which was suspended during the first part of the pandemic but ultimately extended to give more athletes the opportunity to qualify, has been a success.

"We still have nearly a month to go in the qualification period for other events, but our tracking suggests that about 70 percent of athletes in most events will qualify by entry standard. This is above the 50 percent rate we aimed for in devising the system, but we believe this is due to the extended qualifying period created after the postponement of the Olympic Games from 2020 to 2021."

The Road to Tokyo tool, updated today, shows all qualified athletes in bold as follows:
- Qualified by entry standard
- Qualified by designated competition (marathon only)
- In world rankings quota (50km race walk only)
- Accepted universality place

The Road to Tokyo tool identifies the first three qualifiers per nation but any athlete who has qualified can be selected within the limit of three per nation.

Athletes from North Korea are not included as this country has confirmed it will not attend the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Several places in the relay disciplines were claimed at the recent World Athletics Relays Silesia 21.

Athletes in other disciplines have until 29 June to either achieve a qualification standard or place high enough in the world rankings to earn a place within the quota.

World Athletics

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