World Athletics (WA) has suspended the qualification for the Tokyo Olympics with immediate effect until the start of December this year in wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Also Read - Bangladesh Govt Decides Not to Extend COVID-19 Shutdown

The announcement means that results in any competition between April 6 and November 30 won’t be counted towards qualification for the Tokyo Summer Olympics which has been shifted to July next year. However, WA will keep the results for statistical purposes including world records et al. Also Read - COVID-19 Cases Cross 1.6 Lakh-mark; Death Toll Above 4,600; Shah Speaks to CMs Over Lockdown Extension | Key Points

“Qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is suspended effective from 6 April 2020 until 30 November 2020 included,” World Athletics said in a statement on Tuesday. “During this period, results achieved at any competition will not be considered for Tokyo 2020 entry standards or world rankings, the publication of which will also be suspended.” Also Read - COVID-19 Crisis: ECB Delays Start of Domestic Season Till August But Windies Series in July Likely to go Ahead

Athletes who have earned qualification during the earlier period will maintain their eligibility to be selected by their respective national federations or Olympic committees.

“Subject to the global situation returning to normal, the qualification period will resume on 1 December 2020 and continue to the new qualification deadline in 2021 set by the International Olympic Committee (see qualification period table at the end). The total qualification period, which started in 2019, will be four months longer than it was originally,” the statement read further.

The extended period of qualification starts from December 1, 2020 and ends on May 31, 2021 or before.

“With the qualification period from December 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021 (or 29 June 2021 depending on the event) the eligible qualification period (taking into account the eight-month suspension period) is longer than the original period by an additional four months,” the statement read.

WA president Sebastian Coe said the extended period provides a fair opportunity for athletes to qualify for the quadrennial games.

“I am grateful for the detailed work and feedback from our Athletes’ Commission and Council who believe suspending Olympic qualification during this period gives more certainty for athlete planning and preparation and is the best way to address fairness in what is expected to be the uneven delivery of competition opportunities across the globe for athletes given the challenges of international travel and government border restrictions,” he said.

The Olympics and Paralympics were postponed to 2021 last month due to the coronavirus pandemic which has reportedly claimed over 70,000 lives globally.